With growing new surges of Delta variant, France’s parliament passed a law requires its citizens a proof of vaccination, a pass sanitaire (“health pass”), for entering restaurants or board planes, trains, and other public places.
After the vaccine mandate was announced on July 12th, 2021, thousands of people have gathered on the streets of Paris to protest against the mandate. This protest has been going on every weekend since the announcement. The protesters shouted “liberty” and clashed violently with the police. Police have fired tear gas and water cannons at the protesters. Cities like Lyon, Marseille, and Montpellier have also seen protests. On August 8th, more than 230,000 people are protesting throughout France, mainly in cities mentioned previously, according to Reuters.
As for healthcare workers, they are told to either take the vaccine or face losing their jobs.
Hager Ameur, a nurse who joined the protest, told The Associated Press that she resigned from her job and views the mandate as a form of governmental “blackmail” and the French people “mustn’t be told what to do.”
A Protestor named Elise, worry about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine, saying to The Associated Press “I am vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, and polio. But the COVID vaccine is just too experimental.”
Elise’s worry is not unreasonable. Covid-19 vaccine shots were first issued in late 2020, only a year after Covid-19 breakout. “It traditionally has taken 5-10 years to get a new vaccine,” said Jennifer Pancorbo, the director of industry programs and research at North Carolina State University’s Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center.
Even till now, the three major vaccines issued in the United States, Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, are still holding only emergency use authorization issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that each time someone schedules for vaccination they would have to read the text of “I understand that this vaccine is not approved by the FDA, but is being offered under an FDA issued emergency use authorization.”
In August of 2021, as new Covid-19 cases rose again, 93 million Americans eligible for Covid-19 vaccine have chosen not to take it. Even people work in the health care and hospitals are refusing its experimental. The medical companies, such as Kaiser Permanente have given their employees similar orders than what the French healthcare workers have received: take the shot or lose the job.
This sparked American healthcare worker protests across the country. In Twin Cities, Minnesota on August 7th, 2021, healthcare workers standing outside the M Health Fairview St. John’s Hospital held signs such as “the government does not own my body” in protest of the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The protesting healthcare workers mostly concern their freedom of choice, according to Fox 9.
Similar protests have occurred at, for example, Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware (on August 7th) and Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas (also on August 7th). The protesting healthcare workers also express concerns toward the safety of the vaccine, since “it is not FDA-approved,” according to Delaware Online.
A possible reason behind healthcare workers protesting against a healthcare policy is not necessarily caused only by the protestors’ worry toward the safety of the vaccine. Two more hypotheses are worth considering.
As for non-medical companies or organizations, they remain hesitant toward issuing vaccine mandates without the FDA full approval.
What also makes Covid-19 vaccine look intimidating is the repeated news reportage of the vaccine’s rare side effects, which sometimes include deaths.
On Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s website, a page titled “Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination” lists many names of effects: thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), myocarditis and pericarditis, and more. Death also holds a spot.
Despite the page also showing the highly unlikely percentage of encountering these side effects, many people are not willing to take the chances and are refusing to take the vaccine.
The CDC states on their website that despite the side effects, “Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective.”