France Introduces COVID-19 Vaccine Passports

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    France has introduced "vaccine passports." It will be in the form of a pass that will allow vaccinated individuals to enter into certain public places.

  • Reflect On:

    How necessary are these passes? Is this about the virus or something else?

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France has just introduced two vaccine related policies that feel as though they lean towards authoritarian culture.

Firstly, French President Emmanuel Macron announced Monday that all healthcare workers must be vaccinated by Sept 15th. Many health care workers around the world have been hesitant throughout this pandemic. A survey conducted in December of 2020 at Chicago’s Loretto Hospital and revealed 40 percent of healthcare workers will not take the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available to them. Similarly, 50 percent of healthcare workers and hospital staff in Riverside County, California also refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine. They are hesitant for the reasons listed here, and more.

Secondly, starting early August, French citizens who want to go to a restaurant, bar, or movie theatre or take a train in France, will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from the last 48 hours. Employees of these businesses will be required to have proof as well. If citizens choose to keeping taking tests as opposed to vaccination, they will have to pay for the tests out of pocket, and conduct them multiple times per week.

Prior to entry into these businesses, employees will be equipped with smartphones that can scan the QR code on the COVID health pass to check one’s immunity status.

David Zenouda, a bar owner told Politico,

“We are going to have to act like policemen and frankly that’s not our job…At the beginning, bar owners will try and check everyone, but they’ll quickly give up because customers will refuse to play along or won’t be vaccinated.”

Perhaps as expected by government, following the announcement of these mandates, a record number of vaccine appointments were made in the country who only had 53% with one dose and 36% fully vaccinated. 1.7 million vaccine appointments were made following the announcement.

Vaccine passports have been a controversial issue since the onset of the idea. Around the world people have felt that these measures would be ‘going too far’ and would threaten one’s ability to choose what goes in their body.

In Canada and the US, it seems as though states and provinces have free choice about whether they will use the measure. Thus far, a number of states including Arizona, Texas and Florida have stated they will not use passports nor make vaccines mandatory. In Canada, Ontario continues to tell the public they will do the same, no passports, no mandates. However, in Quebec, vaccine passports will be used internally by the fall of 2021.

But what about Federal mandates? If countries decide to use passports for their borders, does this mean citizens won’t be able to leave or re-enter? There are many questions that still remain unanswered as we see these measures making their way into some countries around the world.

Those who opposed vaccine passports and who question safety and effectiveness of COVID vaccines have come under unfair attack from mainstream culture. This has perhaps been mainly exacerbated by how mainstream media has chosen to label people who are hesitant as “anti-vaccine” instead of actually addressing, acknowledging, and responding to their concerns.

Surely, there are those who might seem more ‘extreme’ and hold unscientific and aggressive ‘anti’ views towards vaccines, but that is no no way the majority or those hesitant, yet they have become the subject the mainstream points to when wanting to shape public opinion around how to respond to vaccine measure questioners.

Thus, millions remain unheard by the masses and are constantly ridiculed. Why does the mainstream fail to have these appropriate discussions around controversial issues? Why isn’t there ever any room for balanced conversation and dialogue? It’s in asking these questions that one inevitably has to start questioning motive.

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