The Omicron variant is sweeping through North America, Australia and Europe. France just reported 270,000 daily cases. At the same time, European countries are doing some of the same things we’re doing here in America: loosening quarantine restrictions, loosening isolation protocols and making it easier for fully vaccinated people to move, travel and work. The key word is “vaccinated.” Most European countries have focused heavily on getting a huge percentage of their populations fully vaccinated and boostered through the summer, fall and winter. In France, more than 73% of their population is fully vaccinated. There are holdouts, and President Emmanuel Macron has an idea of what he’d like to do with the unvaccinated holdouts: piss them off.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that he wants to “piss off” unvaccinated people as part of his strategy to fight COVID-19. Speaking to Le Parisien, a French newspaper, Macron said policies that ban unvaccinated people from cafes and theaters and otherwise limit their social activities are intended to be frustrating, adding: “I really want to piss them off. And so we will continue to do so, to the bitter end. That’s the strategy.”
Macron said he won’t jail unvaccinated people or “forcibly” vaccinate them, so COVID passports are the best path forward. His announcement of a COVID passport scheme last July was met with angry protests, but also a major uptick in vaccinations as people didn’t want to lose access to bars and restaurants.
While France had among Europe’s highest rates of vaccine hesitancy early in the pandemic, 74% of the population is now fully vaccinated compared to 62% in the U.S. and 68% across the European Union.
France is currently seeing a massive spike in cases thanks to the Omicron variant, but unvaccinated people continue to be far more likely to end up in the hospital.
Macron is also in campaign mode ahead of April’s presidential election, and clearly sees the vaccine passport as a winning issue. Far-right challenger Marine Le Pen quickly accused him of seeking to divide people and “make the non-vaccinated second-class citizens.”
I think it’s fine? I agree with Macron, this is the strategy to employ. I mean, world leaders are trying different things to get their people vaccinated, and who’s to say that Macron’s strategy won’t work? President Biden’s strategy has also been to make people uncomfortable but in a more polite way, to encourage private companies to issue vaccine mandates, to leave it up to the service industry to mandate mask-wearing and vaccines. I actually think Macron’s more aggressive approach is smarter and more direct. People need to stop f–king around. Enough of this merde.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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