France Report

France's unvaccinated hit back at Macron: 'Forcing us isn't the answer'

Less than a week ago President Emmanuel Macron caused controversy when he said he wanted to “piss off” the unvaccinated in France, whom he described as “irresponsible” and “no longer citizens” in his eyes. As Mediapart has found out, these comments shocked people who have not – yet – made the decision to get vaccinated against Covid. Divided between those who have doubts about the vaccine, others who are afraid, or some who simply feel that it is their duty to defend public liberties, the unvaccinated say they feel misunderstood and are unhappy about being stigmatised. Nejma Brahim reports.

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It is Wednesday January 5th and the queue in front of the pharmacy in rue d'Avron in Paris's 20th arrondissement or district is not getting any shorter. The customers enter the dispensary one by one and then re-emerge clutching a form in their hands. The male pharmacist, dressed in a lab coat and protective hat, gives a sign for the next person to enter the small blue tent that has been a fixture on the pavement for several months. “Are you ok, he didn't hurt you?” asks 'Sophie' – not her real name – from among the line of waiting customers. “Last time, the woman pharmacist put the swap right to the back of my head,” said the fifty-something woman miming the gesture with a smile, a blue scarf wrapped around her neck.

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