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France Takes a Stance

A framed picture of a vaccination record card
Starting yesterday, not being vaccinated for Covid-19 in France is like not drinking your morning coffee: Life will simply be worse without it. 

Large entertainment and cultural venues, including museums, sports arenas, and movie theaters, will now require proof of vaccination or a negative test for Covid-19. And that’s just the start—being vaccinated will be a requirement to enter other businesses, such as cafes and restaurants, starting in August. 

Why now? President Emmanuel Macron announced the measures last week in order to revive a slowing vaccination drive and limit the worst impacts of the Delta variant. France’s infection rate has jumped 125% in the last week and a little over 40% of the population is fully vaccinated.

The vaccine strategy has resulted in two things:

It has angered a lot of people: More than 100,000 protestors hit the streets last weekend, saying the vaccine rules infringed on their rights. 

It has spurred vaccinations: The country set a single-day record for shots administered last Friday (880,000). In the 24 hours after Macron’s speech more than 1.7 million people scheduled a vaccine appointment.

What about us? 

The US federal government hasn’t introduced any vaccine requirements for businesses, and it likely won’t take any steps until the FDA grants full approval to at least one of the shots.

Remember, right now all three US-made vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J) are under “emergency use authorization.” Pfizer expects full approval by January 2022 latest. 

That hasn’t stopped other organizations from saying, “no vaccine, no service.” 590 colleges have at least some form of vaccine mandate. More hospitals are now requiring that their staff get vaccinated. And plenty of businesses, from your local bar to Madison Square Garden, will want you to show proof of vaccination before stepping inside.

Bottom line: From $1 million lotteries to calling in Olivia Rodrigo for a PSA, US officials have offered loads of carrots to push the vaccine-hesitant to get their shots. France is breaking out the sticks. 
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