The incident occurred in the French town of Saint-Barthélémy-de-Vals, in eastern France – not far from the city of Lyon. Dr Raphaël Naville explains why he still refused to be vaccinated – even if it meant closing his practice in the Drôme, one of the most affected departments in France with an incidence rate of over 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Speaking of the situation, he said: “Not fulfilling the conditions required by the law of August 5, 2021, I am forced to suspend my activity for an indefinite period.”
This is the message that Dr Naville’s patients have been hearing on his answering machine since mid-September.
One patient said: “I find myself without a doctor. Many doctors are no longer taking on new patients because they are overwhelmed.”
Dr Naville sees his decision as a heartbreaker.
His position is not that of an anti-vaccine: he has accepted to vaccinate the elderly and has received all the other compulsory vaccines, but at 30 years of age he remains afraid of the COVID vaccine.
The incidence rate in the Drôme has reached 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to a national average of 505.7 in France.
The regional health director said: “Last year at the peak of the wave we reached an incident rate of 740 cases per 100,000 but we had 30 percent more hospitalisations.”
He added: “This shows the effectiveness of the vaccination, especially in serious cases.”
In the Drôme, 83.7 percent of the over 12s are vaccinated against 88.8 percent in the rest of the country.
The department is therefore not among the three least covered by vaccination: Seine Saint Denis (76.7 percent), Alpes de Haute Provence (77 percent) and Bouches du Rhône (79.16 percent).
“Vaccination is essential and useful to avoid serious cases, so it is not a good thing that health professionals are not vaccinated,” commented the president of the Aura Regional Health Agency.
“The rules are the rules” he concluded about the doctor in Saint-Barthélémy-de-Vals whose practice will remain closed until further notice in the application of the law of August 5 2021.
France has so far seen 8.67m cases of the virus, with 122,000 succumbing to the pandemic.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega