As a coronavirus vaccination mandate for health workers went into effect in France on Wednesday, government officials said that some were still holding out against the obligation.
Under a law passed this summer, nearly 3 million people who work in health care or other essential fields — including hospital workers, retirement home employees and firefighters — must get at least a first shot or face job suspensions without pay. Those who have already received their first dose have until Oct. 15 to get a second one.
Gabriel Attal, the French government spokesman, said at a news conference on Wednesday that more than 90 percent of health workers had received at least a first dose, compared with 64 percent in early July, when President Emmanuel Macron first announced the mandate.
“A vast majority of health workers have made the choice of responsibility,” Mr. Attal said, adding that the measure aimed to “protect hospitals, protect our health workers, protect vulnerable patients.”
Mr. Macron had announced the mandate and a broader health pass policy in July to counter slumping vaccination rates. The health pass — which shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative coronavirus test or recovery from Covid-19 — is now mandatory to eat at restaurants, go to the movies and attend other public venues.
Protesters angered by the policy marched through cities around France over the summer, calling the pass an infringement on their freedom. But the demonstrations have dwindled in size over the past weeks. The policy is now broadly accepted, and France has seen an uptick in vaccination rates.
Still, several hundred health care workers demonstrated in front of the health ministry in Paris over the weekend, voicing their discontent.
Some union leaders, who favor vaccination but say the government should convince health workers instead of forcing them, have warned that France’s health care system could come under strain if even a small number of unvaccinated workers were suspended.
But most officials were reassuring.
“It won’t destabilize hospitals,” Frédéric Valletoux, the head of France’s hospital federation, told RTL radio on Wednesday, adding that “it might disturb the functioning of a department here or there, but hospital workers will step up, reorganize, and life will go on.”
The attitude of health workers who refuse to get vaccinated is “very individualistic, very selfish,” Mr. Valletoux added.