The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, has announced that vaccination is now mandatory for all personnel working in the health or care sector. They have until September 15th to receive the shots, or else they will then be sanctioned.
To convince the rest of the population to get vaccinated, the strategy is somewhat more subtle. Starting next week, the Health Passport will be required for access to any event that brings together more than 50 people. Until now, it was required for meetings with more than 1,000 people. And from August 1st for access to shopping centers, bars, cafes and restaurants as well as nursing homes, clinics and hospitals. Also trains, buses and long-haul planes. After Macron’s televised address, over a million vaccination appointments were booked on the medical website Doctolib in less than 24 hours.
Macron was clear: instead of restrictions for all, restrictions for the unvaccinated. The president appealed to civility and maturity but made it clear that if persuasion does not work, he will consider making vaccination mandatory for all. When? In the fall. “Nine million doses await you,” he said. The head of state appealed to science and recalled that France is the homeland of Pasteur.
I can understand that they have doubts, but I tell them very sincerely and very honestly: the time is not for doubting the vaccine, we now have to go for itGabriel Attal, government spokesperson
According to Politico, France advises foreigners and French citizens who have been vaccinated abroad to get tested in France to obtain a Covid-19 green pass. This would in turn mean that if non-EU tourists wanted to go to bars or shopping centers, they would need to get tested every few days. The tests cost between €25 to €45.
PCR tests no longer be free of charge
The health pass indicates whether one is vaccinated or has just tested negative in a PCR test. And to encourage his fellow citizens to get vaccinated, PCR tests will no longer be free of charge as of October. The aim is to make recalcitrant people who prefer to take one test after another jump through the vaccine hoops. For the time being, foreigners already have to pay for the tests (45 euros), as in the rest of the EU countries they have to be paid for.
Macron prefers to intervene now, before the contagions start to increase again. And, of course, to use the advance of the Delta variant to give a boost to the vaccination campaign. The incidence rate right now is 25 per 100,000. In four departments it exceeds 50, the alert level: Paris, the Alps and the two Pyrenean departments bordering Catalonia and the Basque Country. If the rate reaches 200 cases, the prefects (government delegates) can adopt curfews. This is the case in Martinique and Réunion.
Between June 28 and July 4, the number of contagions was 2,360 per day. A challenges is that from 5,000 cases per day, the tracing of contacts of each case becomes impossible. 40% of French people have already received the two doses. The same percentage is found among nursing home staff. Among health care workers, it is 60%. 80% of those over 60 years have received at least a first dose.
The government will approve next week in the Council of Ministers a bill to make the vaccination compulsory. French citizens have been obliged to be vaccinated against hepatitis B since 2005. The text will be voted in the National Assembly before the end of July. Macron counts not only on his deputies and his centrist allies but also on the classical right and the socialists. On the other hand, the extremists of the Right (Marine Le Pen) and of the Left (Jean Luc Mélenchon) oppose the measures.