France has announced that next month those citizens who choose the right to remain unvaccinated will now face a more stringent set of policy measures and laws designed to protect the vaccinated and economy from going further into crisis.
This new robust policy, announced by French President Emmanuel Macron, will see unvaccinated persons having to pay for PCR testing and antigen test for COVID-19. It will also see them producing the documents and a negative result to get access to nightclubs, restaurants and theatres, public places, and events. This change also seeks to tackle the employment sector as persons who remain unvaccinated will now be required to get tested at their expenses, especially frontline workers and public employees, if they want to be paid and stay on the job.
According to Macron, the government is no longer putting the vaccinated people at risk with the new COVID-19 variant. He said: “I no longer have any intention of sacrificing my life, my time, and my freedom.” He said he was doing those things for those who refuse to be vaccinated. He declared that, this time for the unvaccinated to stay at home, not the vaccinated.
And as we expected, there would be a section of the political opposition which is opposed to this policy shift to make France deal with the pandemic more successfully. Opposition politicians feel that the government is being drastic and unrealistic in its approach to vaccine hesitancy and misinformation. Additionally, these politicians feel that the government is not doing enough, in terms of PR campaigning and education to stem the tide or create the change it wants to see in the economy.
But we looked at the statistics and, they are telling a whole different story. Soon after, more than 1.7 million persons made appointments to get their vaccines on a website, according to statistics provided by the French health authorities. It was reported that last Friday, nearly 880,000 people received a shot in a single day, a record. Added to the numbers, the New York Times reported that 55 per cent of the French population received the first shot so far, and 40 per cent has gotten vaccinated completely.
As a result of more COVID-19 tests, the number of daily infections has skyrocketed in cases since May 2021.
Guyana can learn a valuable and important lesson from the French Government in handling the pandemic more robustly in the coming weeks and months. The authorities must get stricter with the vaccination policy on COVID-19. The health of the nation should not be jeopardised by allowing the unvaccinated Guyanese to be carefree without any sanctions or measures in place that seek to get them into the vaccinated population.
The adoption of a new set of policy measures by the government-led COVID-19 Task Force that will require getting the vaccination rates up, will help as the mortality rates will come down.
Vaccination remains the most effective way of winning the fight against the COVID-19.