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Macron’s anti-vaccine measures pay off

“The restrictions will weigh on others, those who for incomprehensible reasons in the country of Louis Pasteur, of science and the Enlightenment, still hesitate to use the only weapon available against the pandemic: the vaccine ”.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke these words on July 12 with a clear warning to anti-vaccines.

Macron's measures have paid off and France breaks vaccination appointment records.  (Photo by BENOIT TESSIER / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)

Macron’s measures have paid off and France breaks records for vaccination appointments. (Photo by BENOIT TESSIER / POOL / . via .)

Just seven days later the Doctolib medical reserve center echoed a record number in appointments made for vaccination: in just one week 3.7 million French people had requested once to be immunized against covid-19.

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The impulse of the presidential speech and the measures announced to stop the expansion of the Delta variant – three times more contagious and which already accounts for more than half of the cases in France – have allowed that after ten days since its announcement it is already planned that at least 4 million French go to a vaccination center before September.

Among other regulations, as of August who wants to have a coffee in France You will have to be vaccinated and for health workers it will be mandatory to be immunized at the latest in the middle of September. In this way, health workers not vaccinated from the entry into force of the rule will not be able to work or charge.

The Macron government has seen this type of measure necessary in a country where less than half of nursing home staff and long-term patients have the complete vaccination schedule, according to the latest available data, and in the case of hospital staff, the percentage of vaccinated does not exceed 65%.

Therefore, from August 1, restaurants, bars, shopping centers, cinemas and long-distance means of transport will have the obligation to require the sanitary certificate of vaccination or a negative test – which both French and foreign tourists will have to pay – in a country that has one of the highest percentages of people reluctant to get vaccinated.

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Just twelve days before the measures take effect, only four out of ten French have the full regimen injected and just over half of the French (56%) have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Spain, for example, has 64% of people vaccinated, of which 53% have complete immunization.

Comparison of vaccination between Spain and France.  (Our World in Data)Comparison of vaccination between Spain and France.  (Our World in Data)

Comparison in vaccination between Spain and France. (Our World in Data)

Anti-vaccine speech on the rise

The anti-vaccine discourse has caught on in the midst of a pandemic in the Gallic country thanks to the spreading fake news in social networks, in a field of cultivation already conducive to the rejection of immunization.

In 2019, the Gallup consulting firm already identified France as the country most reluctant to use vaccines among more than 140 countries and, in 2020, after the outbreak of the pandemic, an Ipsos survey showed that barely 40% of the French population was willing to receive the vaccine against covid-19, although that number has increased to more than half (54%) in recent months.

Furthermore, BBC investigations have highlighted an increase of almost a million people in the number of followers of pages sharing anti-vaccine content in French, from 3.2 million “likes” on social media to nearly 4.1 million.

Mass demonstrations in France against vaccination and the health passport.  (Photo by Kiran Ridley / Getty Images)Mass demonstrations in France against vaccination and the health passport.  (Photo by Kiran Ridley / Getty Images)

Massive demonstrations in France against vaccination and the health passport. (Photo by Kiran Ridley / .)

Pages of this type warn that French democracy will be replaced by what they call “health dictatorship” and their messages have also been heard in the streets, where thousands of protesters have gathered in recent weeks to reject the generalization of the certificate or “health pass” with banners of “Macron dictator.”

In addition, they have registered attacks on vaccination centers, vandalized with attached messages such as “vaccine = new genocide”, but the requirement of vaccination certificates to access places of leisure seem to have slowed the scope of these speeches, judging by the extraordinary increase in appointments for receive a dose.

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