Jul 19, 2021 - World

Vaccinations surge and protests grow after new COVID policies in France

Protests in Marseille against the new policies. Photo: Gerard Bottino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

France has seen a surge in vaccinations and a groundswell of anger over policies that will next month make it mandatory to get the shot or show a negative test in order to visit a cafe, see a movie, take a train and more.

Driving the news: Protests across the country reportedly drew over 100,000 people over the weekend, and two vaccination centers were vandalized.

State of play: Despite one of the world's most vaccine-skeptical populations, France has nearly caught up to the U.S. on vaccinations. The new policy is aimed in particular at younger people who might otherwise opt out.

  • It's working. Vaccination centers have been full ever since Macron's announcement. And initial polls suggest two-thirds of people support the measures.
  • As a further incentive to get vaccinated, tests will no longer be free. In addition, staff at hospitals and nursing homes won't be paid if they're not vaccinated by September.
  • What to watch: The policy puts the onus on restaurant owners to turn away customers who decline to show a valid "health pass" at the risk of a fine or even jail time.

The big picture: Several countries have mandated vaccines for certain health workers or attempted some form of "vaccine passport," but Turkmenistan recently became the second country to make them mandatory for all adults, following Indonesia.

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