A different view on the French reaction to the Covid Pass

The French government has put in place a health pass which is being discussed widely in the press. Numerous articles showing the protests and giving a voice to the wildest protesters and their arguments against it.

It makes it look once more that French can’t do anything else but protest. Yellow vest activists are probably happy to have a new rally cry, far-right politicians get heard widely and love it. It is a blessing before next year’s elections! And even royalists are out in the street! Yes, we still have royalists! Can’t really explain why?!

There has been articles about the protests, the ransacking of vaccination centers, the fake health passes being sold…

Of course, France being France and as with any society topic, we do not just listen to politicians and journalists, eminent thinkers, like academics in social science & philosophies have also added their grain of salt. Their view, on the authoritarian move the health pass represent, has been diluted for the mass.

Despite all this, French are not anti-vaxxers! … Mostly not. Let’s look at various numbers.

On one side, we have the official counts of protesters and these show an increase over the last 2 weekends. 110,000 last weekend, 160,000 this weekend. Maybe it will increase slightly over the next weekends, but then again French do love their vacations, so it might also stagnate.

Obviously, this doesn’t count for all the people not being vaccinated so it could be far larger if they all took to the streets.

However, let’s ponder on other significant numbers:

As of today (end of July), over 58% of the Frenchs are vaccinated. That’s close to 40 million people. It’s worth noting that vaccination started fairly slowly due to the lack of supply.

800,000 appointments to get vaccinated were taken the next day of the government announcement of the health pass. 800,000!!

1.7 Million appointments within the next few days!

Kind of unsurprisingly 62% of the population agree with the parameters of the health pass. This matches with the number of people vaccinated or ready to be vaccinated.

And 72% are for the mandatory vaccine for healthcare workers. Apparently most people do not want to catch Covid while being treated for something else!

Indeed, around 75% of the population are overall for the vaccine. A number which has increased significantly over the past 6 months.

This leaves between 15% and 24% of Frenchs which are strongly against all the measures (Percentages vary from one measure to the other). This represents between 10,000,000 and 16,000,000 people. It doesn’t mean all of them will never get vaccinated but unfortunately, even 15% of unvaccinated is probably too much to truly get out of the pandemic.

Most countries end up with a similar issue, it seems. This is not over.

For good measures, let’s remember that there are currently 11 mandatory vaccines in France. (diphtheria, tetanus, polio, pertussis, measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis B…) Vaccines mandatory for babies before they can go to daycare and school.

French are very used to vaccines and mostly aren’t anti-vaxxers.

With these numbers, I kind of wanted to set the record straight.

Most French people are vaccinated or ready to be, and maybe most importantly most see the Covid pass as a possibly good thing that could help return to an almost normal and slightly safer life.

Most French people are not anti-vaxxers. (yes, I’m saying it again!) Some are still worried & hesitant but their ranks are shrinking.

Most French are not in the street protesting but instead are enjoying their vacation and life!

Wait, what is this Covid pass? Where is it required?

The Covid pass is a certificate that show you are vaccinated, you have recovered from Covid, or had a negative PCR test. Such a health pass isn’t even an obligation to get vaccinated!

Yes, the incentive to get vaccinated is strong since in 2 months or so, one will have to pay for one’s own PCR tests.

I know first hand how this becomes a budget, considering I had to do a PCR test every time I went to see my dad (before getting vaccinated!).

Where does is it required? The COVID pass is now or will shortly be required to go to restaurants, bars, night clubs, cinemas, hospitals, shopping malls, concert halls, museums, attraction parks, sports events, cultural events, trains, planes, etc. So basically, everywhere there are quite a few people and therefore where clusters can form.

You are still free if you are not vaccinated!

You are free to stay safely at home, watch a good movie, read a great book, cook delicious meals, tend to your garden, do some renovations, DIY, exercises, meditation,… You should maybe consider getting educated. No this doesn’t mean reading every crap articles, your friends shared on facebook.

You can go out for a walk in nature, go hiking, cycling or even take your car if you must, to go discover your region. You can certainly go elsewhere too. Maybe to the beach? Maybe to the mountains, to give some much needed oxygen to your brain?!

You can shop at your local shops. The ones you said before that need saving from the big bad malls. Yes that includes the book shop you argued should stay opened during the lockdowns, although you never stepped a foot there.

You can order a pizza or else from the food truck that come once a week in your village. If you live in a big city, there is probably something similar you can find, if you want to get out and not get delivery everyday.

You can still see your friends, get together for diner, a barbecue or even a picnic somewhere, in a park or by a river.

You are still free to meet new people, even if they might want to keep their distance from you, once they find out you are not vaccinated. You have 1 chance out of 4 (maybe less soon) to find like minded people, go for it!

You can still swap left or right on the dating app. No condom, no vaccine! I’m sure it is a thing. You just can’t be too picky at that point.

You are still free to shop mindlessly online.

You could learn about climate change. This may make you less worried about the long term possible effects of the vaccine.

You can still perfect your selfie skills and find new apps, although none will remove your stupid comments on vaccines.

You can change job if you are not satisfied with the requirements of the one you have.

And you can pay for the required PCR test if want to go to a concert or else.

You still have choices, you still have your life. This isn’t a dictatorship, but you must live with the choices you make.

Living with the choices you make is called life! It’s everything.

Yes, personally I chose to get vaccinated and chose to live with the consequences of it, in the distance future. I took such a decision because I wanted to be able to do certain things now. Worrying for the future is pointless.

If your choice is to continue to fear the vaccine, you need to adapt your life to such a choice.

You really should ponder on why you fear the vaccine more that the sickness.

A couple additional thoughts

We have a saying in French which is about “wanting the butter, the money from the butter and… the booty of the dairywoman” well the last part is optional and some say “the smile of the dairywoman” to be more polite!

I presently feel that the people who are marching against the Covid pass are like this. They want it all. They forget about their own obligations. They don’t want to have any.

Now, French do not, like Americans, cite the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizen in every argument.

But in the present circumstances, it has come on the table every now and then… although in a surprising way, at least to me.

Anti-vaxxers citing the first part of article one is the best example. Forgetting about the rest and article 4, is just too easy!

So here they are for you, so you know what I’m ranting about!

Article I – Human Beings are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be founded only on the common good.

Article IV – Liberty consists of doing anything which does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of each man has only those borders which assure other members of the society the fruition of these same rights. These borders can be determined only by the law.

Yesh, let’s forget about our social responsibilities when it is most convenient.

And the last thing I wanted to add is that their use (and the anti-mask before them) of “My body, My choice” pisses me off.

Yes, of course the ones who paraded with a yellow star or the ones who compared the health pass to the Apartheid are attention seeker idiots of the highest rank. Amongst others. But I still wanted to end this on another point.

“My body, My choice” is a feminist slogan. One that women needed to defend their individual’s right of self determination over their bodies for sexual, marriage and reproductive choices. Rights that have been earned painfully over decades and some. Rights that are not even guarantee to every woman on Earth. Rights that are being challenged regularly and diminished at every occasion.

So here it is: your use of this slogan to reject mask mandates and vaccine is abject.

End of rant! Have a great Sunday!

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