President Emmanuel Macron made vaccination a top priority in July. And pulled the reins vigorously in the summer. Macron showed courage, because the French lateral thinkers protest loudly and publicly in the country every Saturday. The focal points of the protests are often where the yellow vests had recently received strong support: in the regions on the edge of the French prosperity of the big cities. Where there is a lack of doctors, local public transport, jobs and functioning authorities.
But on July 12th, Macron triggered a vaccination boom with his TV address in front of over 20 million viewers. He declared tempting freedom rights for vaccinated people. Only they are then allowed to go unrestrictedly in restaurants and cafés, in theaters, cinemas, swimming pools, shopping centers and amusement parks. The health pass – i.e. the vaccination certificate – has been mandatory for long-distance travel by train, coach and on flights within France since August. It must also be presented for major sporting events and concerts.
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Unvaccinated people then need a negative test result. Before that, unvaccinated people in France only needed it when more than 1,000 people came together. And soon there will be no more corona tests at the expense of health insurance in France: From October 15, unvaccinated French will have to pay for the tests for going to the restaurant or the theater themselves.
Compulsory vaccination in France: 2.7 million people are affected
Macron wanted even stricter regulations for the French overseas territories of La Réunion and Martinique. The health emergency and an evening curfew have been in effect here since the end of July.
In addition, from September 15, all of France will have to be vaccinated for all professional groups in nursing homes and hospitals, for all resident doctors and their employees, pharmacists, medical students and firefighters. A total of 2.7 million French are required to be vaccinated.
The pressure from above is working: According to the Ministry of Health, 88 percent of the nursing staff had already received a first dose of vaccine on September 7th, 94 percent of the resident doctors and their employees. At the beginning of May, only 51 percent had received a vaccine dose here. Anyone who refuses to prick will be sent on unpaid leave from October 15th. In France there was and is already compulsory vaccination for health professions for tetanus, polio, diphtheria and hepatitis B. Now also for corona.
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Macron’s announcement of a tougher pandemic pandemic triggered a downright vaccination tsunami. The co-founder of the Doctolib website, Stanislas Niox-Chateau, confirmed one day after Macron’s TV address: “926,000 French people booked a vaccination appointment on Doctolib yesterday evening. Our website was clicked 7.5 million times during the Macron speech and in the hours after. “
And the new impetus that Macron’s vaccination campaign received has lasted for the past few weeks: In France, over 73 percent of residents have now received at least one corona vaccination. Before Macron’s crackdown, it was only 53 percent.
For comparison: In Germany only around 66 percent have currently received at least one primary vaccination. Since mid-July, the number of people vaccinated has only increased by a meager six percentage points – in France by 20.
Unusual for Germany: politics against resistance can be successful
Macron shows that one can also successfully conduct politics against resistance in the population. The weekend protests against the alleged “health dictatorship” are decreasing. The Ministry of the Interior recently stated the number of participants nationwide as a total of 121,000. In July there were still over 300,000 people.
And Germany? In this country too, citizens will have to pay for their corona tests themselves from October 11th. Since a direct vaccination offer can now be made to everyone, a permanent cost assumption by the taxpayer is not justified, said Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn at the beginning of August. The rapid test will then cost around 20 euros, a PCR test around 100 euros. Only pregnant women, previously ill and children under the age of twelve should continue to receive the tests for free. The twelve to 17 year olds can test it for free until the end of November.
The impending costs of testing have obviously not yet convinced the German vaccine muffle. The federal-state conference has ruled out compulsory vaccination for health professions. Since Wednesday, September 15, employees in daycare centers, schools and nursing homes should be able to be asked by employers whether they are vaccinated during the crisis. The query of the vaccination status should help with the creation of duty rosters, it was said to justify. The new §36 of the Infection Protection Act does not explicitly provide for a suspension, does it?
The query of the employer about the corona vaccination status is necessary “in order to decide on the establishment of an employment relationship or on the manner of employment,” says the new law. Here labor lawyers will have a lot to do in the event of possible dismissals or sanctions.
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But the German vaccination fatigue weighs heavily on the country, especially outside of schools, hospitals and care facilities. Current surveys show that three quarters of those who don’t like vaccinations consider a vaccination unnecessary, since the others get vaccinated. According to the study, the tendency towards irresponsibility among those who refused to vaccinate has increased rapidly in recent weeks.
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The German Federal Minister of Health is currently not aiming at those who refuse to be vaccinated, but only throws cotton balls at the small part of the forgetful. The vaccination week has been taking place in Germany since Monday. German citizens could be vaccinated against Corona at hundreds of places they visit every day. Jens Spahn said on WDR 5: “There are still those who actually have nothing against the vaccination, who maybe even had an appointment, they missed it and they just didn’t make a new one.”
It remains to be seen whether Spahn can convince the vaccine-muffle with good persuasion. But the federal government is shying away from a tougher pace against rampant irresponsibility. Macron’s crowbar doesn’t fit the German political style of perpetual consensus at all. Especially not so shortly before the general election.