Interview with readers of Le Parisien

Macron’s comments on non-vaccinated cause debate

Debates on the vaccination pass were suspended after the President of the Republic's comments on non-vaccinated people. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Debates on the vaccination pass were suspended after the President of the Republic's comments on non-vaccinated people. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The President of the French Republic let loose to the readers of the newspaper “Le Parisien”. Emmanuel Macron stands by his strategy which consists in “pissing off” the non-vaccinated, without implementing mandatory jabs.

In an interview with readers of the daily newspaper Le Parisien, Emmanuel Macron said: “I am not here to annoy the French. I complain all day long about the administration when it blocks them. Well, in this case, the non-vaccinated, I really want to piss them off (“les emmerder” in the original French, editor’s note). And so we're going to continue to do it, until the end.”

He talks about a “very small minority” of anti-vaxxers, since the vaccination rate has reached 90% in France, according to Macron. The Our World in Data website shows that 73.36% of France’s population was fully vaccinated as of 2 January 2022.

Macron describes those who choose individual freedom over collective protection as “irresponsible”. The pressure is therefore focused on the latter by “limiting their access to social activities as much as possible. We have to tell them: from 15 January, you can no longer go to a restaurant, you can no longer go for a drink, you can no longer go for a coffee, you can no longer go to the theatre, you can no longer go to the cinema...”

France intends to replace its health pass with a vaccination pass, a switch from 3G (vaccinated, tested or recovered) to 2G (vaccinated or recovered).

Reactions to comment aplenty

The bill allowing for this has been under discussion in the National Assembly since Monday afternoon. Suspended on the first evening, debates were suspended again on the evening of Tuesday 4 January, following Macron’s remarks to readers of the Le Parisien newspaper.

One of the deputies is said to have declared that “a president should not say that”, according to the news website France Info. On social networks too, the opposition reacted strongly to these remarks.

France does not seem to be taking the route of compulsory vaccination for the time being. “If tomorrow I say ‘for all adults, you have to be vaccinated’. How do we control this and what is the penalty? That’s the real issue. Am I going to force people to go and get vaccinated? Imprison them and then vaccinate them?”

Compulsory vaccination is, however, already in place for healthcare professions.

Macron also ruled out differentiating between vaccinated and the non-vaccinated in covid care services.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.