2 Million French Scramble for Vax Appointments After Macron Pledges Crackdown on Freedoms

A firefighter checks his notes as he welcomes people to the SDIS34 fire station transformed into a temporary vaccination center, in Vailhauques near Montpellier in the south of France on April 8, 2021, during a vaccination campaign, aimed at curbing the spread of the pandemic of Covid-19. (Photo by Pascal …
PASCAL GUYOT/AFP via Getty Images

More than two million French people made an appointment for vaccination against the Chinese coronavirus after President Emmanuel Macron threatened to crack down on freedoms for the unvaccinated.

On Monday, Macron promised that in the coming months, Frenchmen will have to use vaccine passports to prove vaccination or natural immunity for everyday activities such as using public transport or going to restaurants as well as going to leisure venues like amusement parks or concerts. Healthcare workers must also be vaccinated.

Detailing the threats to remove the liberty of his citizens, Macron said: “Our choice is simple: to put the restrictions on the unvaccinated rather than on all.”

So eager were the French to comply that France’s online vaccination portal Doctolib.fr crashed after the president’s speech, with Le Parisien reporting on Wednesday that more than 1.3 million people had registered on the site on Tuesday alone, a new daily record.

Since the president made the announcement, 2.24 million in total have booked appointments.

Speaking to broadcaster BFMTV, Doctolib chief Stanislas Niox-Chateau expects that the vaccination campaign would “quickly rise to four, five million injections per week” as a result of Macron’s threats.

Leader of the right-populist National Rally Marine Le Pen condemned the measures on Monday, saying they marked a “serious decline in individual freedoms”.

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