In a televised address on Monday, Macron announced that coronavirus vaccinations will be mandatory for healthcare workers in France, and a “health pass” proving vaccination status, or a negative test for Covid-19, will be necessary to board a train or visit restaurants, theaters, bars and cinemas from August. All French people over 12 years old will need a pass.
“We will extend the health pass as much as possible to push as many of you as possible to get vaccinated,” Macron said.
Covid vaccinations for the general population will not be mandatory in the near future, but Macron did not take the option off the table. If inoculation rates do not pick up, the president warned that he will “ask the question of compulsory vaccination for all French people.”
Additionally, while a negative PCR test will be sufficient for obtaining a “health pass,” Macron said that the government will no longer hand out free Covid tests from autumn onwards.
Around 36% of France’s 67 million people have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, but the number of new coronavirus cases has been rising steadily since the beginning of July, driven by the more contagious Delta variant.
Reuters noted on Monday that France has an “entrenched” anti-vaccine movement that will likely be unhappy with Macron’s aggressive vaccination drive.
Yet more French citizens will likely be unhappy about Macron’s proposed pension reforms, which he announced on Monday will be launched once the pandemic is “under control.” The reforms – which will likely involve raising France’s retirement age and merging the country’s 42 separate pension regimes into a single points-based system – already triggered widespread protests and rioting between their announcement in 2019 and the start of the coronavirus pandemic last March.