The French nation has found itself between the devil and the deep blue sea. When the pandemic originally hit, there was a huge disruption in the regular lives of everyone across the world. There were widespread lockdowns, loss of jobs, several people were hospitalized and many died of the virus.
France wasn’t left out of all these. And after the initial wave of the pandemic eased up a bit, in concurrence with the introduction of vaccines, things have been looking better and life is returning to some form of normal, but there’s now a twist.
The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, recently made vaccination compulsory in the country, winning the support of the house on this approach by 117 to 86 votes. A health pass which indicates that a person has been vaccinated or has recently tested negative was introduced as a criterion for having access to public and indoor establishments, alongside a compulsory vaccination of all health workers latest by September 15.
With the emergence of the delta variant in Europe that has been proven to be more infective and deadlier than others, the president sees vaccination as the only way to prevent another lockdown which would be disruptive to their just recovering economy.
In this attempt to get herd immunity through vaccination, France has taken a route that not even America has, by mandating everyone to be vaccinated.
According to the protesters who are against this approach by the government, it’s an infringement on their human rights and freedoms. The protests were spread throughout French cities like Marseille, Toulouse, and Nantes, where police pushed back heavily on protesters using teargas and stopping traffic in those areas. Many wonder if making vaccination compulsory is the right thing to do, especially with many controversies surrounding its effectiveness, and general worries due to misinformation.
With this new law in France, those who have been skeptical about taking the vaccine face being excluded from society if they choose not to, as public and private establishments are now obligated to request that anyone coming into their buildings show a health pass before being allowed in despite their protests against such practice.
The dilemma is a dicey one because at the very heart of it, the president’s goal is to get more people vaccinated quickly but it undeniably violates basic human rights to force people into doing so with laws that threaten their freedom. But since the law was made, vaccinations have gone through the roof seeing almost a million people vaccinated in just a day and about 2.7 million other people scheduled for their first dose.
Questions have been thrown at protesters asking if it is also their right to put others at risk by not getting vaccinated, a question they don’t seem able to answer. In the end, the reality is that the measures that have been put in place by president Macron are yielding great results for vaccination. Since people don’t want anything disrupting their plans for summer, France may just avert another lockdown.