Vaccination Campaigns Drawing Up Questions About Personal Freedoms
By Andrew Guan
In France, President Emmanuel Macron has issued all health workers to be vaccinated by September 15th. He also informed the rest of the population that they will be denied service from many indoor activities if they are unvaccinated or without a negative test by August 1st. This statement has generated praise and criticisms alike.
France’s actions have prompted similar actions from Italy. “The appeal to not getting vaccinated is an appeal to die,” says Mario Draghi, the Italian prime minister. Other countries such as the United Kingdom and Spain are considering partaking in the same course.
Nevertheless, the United Kingdom has already begun a different path to normalcy. Boris Johnson has removed many Covid-19 restrictions, declaring “Freedom Day.” With 68.4 percent of the population of the country vaccinated at least once, the United Kingdom is taking its chances with a virus.
Macron’s new laws have stirred fury among the National Assembly and the public due to questions about fundamental freedoms. “You have gone completely crazy,” exclaims Julien Aubert, lawmaker from the center-right Republicans party.
Some people in France see manipulation and lies amongst the vaccination campaigns. “The question is not the vaccination. It is obliging us to do something that I don’t want to do. I prefer to say ‘No’ and keep my freedom. We are in a soft dictatorship, and the oligarchs take us for idiots. There is no more pandemic today. We know that. We are not stupid,” explains Hugues Debotte, an umemployed chef who was also a Yellow Vest protestor. However, the majority of the population feels a mutual sense of social responsibility. “We have two choices. Succeed with the pass quickly, very quickly, or expose ourselves to the risk of another national lockdown,” says Olivier Véran, the French health minister.
President Macron is also being attacked by the far-left (France Unbowed) and the far-right (National Rally) parties. “We are not in a dictatorship but there is a form of authoritarianism in the country. Fundamental freedoms are today called into question,” says Alexis Corbiere, a deputy and spokesperson of France Unbowed. The far-left party fully supports vaccination but does not favor Macron’s strategy.
The United States is also experiencing the same form of freedom polarity. For example, Florida is forbidden from denying service and business to the unvaccinated population, but on the other side of the country in San Francisco, all city workers are required to be vaccinated. However, the United States is not under the same form of scrutiny as France.