The announcement by French President Emmanuel Macron, Monday (12), that a health pass will be mandatory to attend cultural and leisure places has generated a vaccine race in the European country.
According to the French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, this Tuesday (13) 792,339 French people received a dose of the agent immunizing against Covid-19, a figure 23% higher than that recorded on Thursday (8). The previous record was linked to June 18, with 752,795 drugs applied.
The moving average of vaccines distributed per day had increased slowly until July 1, when it began to decline, according to data from the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data website. On the first day of the month, that number rose to 585,128, but on Thursday (8) it was 564,411, returning to early June levels.
After Macron’s announcement, there was also a strong demand to schedule the vaccination: more than 1.7 million French people, or 2.5% of the population, booked an appointment Monday and Tuesday to receive the first dose via Doctolib, one of the country’s largest platforms for medical appointments.
The search was so intense that the site went down half an hour after the president’s speech began at 8 p.m. local time. At 9 p.m., there were 20,000 appointments per minute, according to the department.
According to the French doctor Michaël Rochoy, researcher in epidemiology at the University of Lille, many of these people were undecided or abandoned the vaccination for later for various reasons. “Macron’s speech had a trigger effect for these citizens.”
The measures announced in a press release accompanied by 22.4 million people, according to the French newspaper Le Monde, determine that, to attend shows, amusement parks, concerts or festivals from July 21, it will be necessary to present a recent vaccination certificate or negative test, or such a health record.
For cafes, restaurants, trains and long-distance buses, the measure will be valid in August, without a date yet set. On the BFM-TV channel, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran indicated on Tuesday that it will not be the first day of the month, “because the law will not have time to be promulgated and fully applied from” this dated.
Workers in places open to the public, in turn, will have until August 30 to be vaccinated, the minister explained to the France 2 channel, otherwise they will have to undergo tests for the coronavirus every two days “if they want to continue the work. “
Previously, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal, in an interview with Europe 1, had justified the decision, because it would be incomprehensible for many French people to demand a health pass to frequent these places without the same rigor being applied to people. who work in these places.
Owner of a restaurant in Saint-Jean-de-Sixt, near a ski resort in the French Alps, Lucie Genand, 31, was directly impacted by the measure. She, who was back to work after more than two months without being able to open the facility due to restrictions to contain the spread of the Covid, has not yet been vaccinated for fear of side effects. After the announcement, he had to review the decision.
The French have historically been afraid of getting vaccinated. The start of vaccination against Covid in the country was fraught with uncertainties: 58% of the population rejected the drugs, according to a survey carried out on December 22 and 23 by the Odoxa Institute for Le Figaro vehicles and Franceinfo. The survey also indicated that one of the main reasons given by respondents was that “not getting vaccinated is a reasonable decision given a new disease and a new vaccine.”
Today, a total of 52.6% of the population has received at least one dose and 36.8% both.
In France 2 Véran, the Minister of Health, explained that the measures will not apply immediately to anyone over 12 years old. As the vaccination of the 12-17 year old portion of the population started later on June 15, the requirement will go into effect for them on August 30. Until then, adolescents “should always remain masked if necessary”.
The new determination has already sparked controversy in France. The president of the National Federation of French Cinemas, Richard Patry, told Le Monde that the imposition of the health pass in cultural places earlier than in other establishments is a kind of punishment.
The Avignon Festival, whose parallel program brings together several performances in 115 rooms and runs until July 31, will be directly impacted, for example. Proof of vaccination or negative test was required, until now, only in shows in the main courtyard of the Palais des Papes, with a capacity of around 2,000 seats. “It will be extremely difficult in terms of personnel and material to validate the pass,” said Olivier Py, artistic director of the festival, to the French newspaper.