A group of doctors in the Alpes-Maritimes has called on the public authorities to make vaccination compulsory in order to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Jérôme Barrière said on Monday that the group’s members were “very worried” about the current trends in local hospitals. He said the risk of hospitalisation with a serious case of coronavirus is much higher for the unvaccinated than for those who have had the vaccine.

The unjabbed make up the vast majority of patients in intensive care, he said, with an average age of 60.

“This isn’t the ‘flu. If that were the case we wouldn’t be making this call.”

Dr Barrière added that hospitals were operating under considerable stress. In his own, an entire floor is devoted to coronavirus patients and this is having a disastrous effect in terms of the cancellation of operations and the care of other patients.

He added that although being vaccinated did not provide total protection and some vaccinated patients were among the seriously ill, if everyone was vaccinated medical professionals would be in a much better position to deal with the influx of patients.

He said that if the public authorities did not work on filtering the air in public places such as schools and cinemas “we will be slaves of new variants of the virus for a very long time.”

Among the 18 signatories to the open letter was Dr Mathieu Liberatore, head of the radiology department at Princess Grace Hospital.

FILE PHOTO: A patient in a French hospital receives treatment for coronavirus Reuters