In another sign that the campaign of C-19 vaccination in Europe is far from over, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested last week that the appropriate response to the crisis in France’s overstrained emergency healthcare services is to “vaccinate everything that can be vaccinated.”
“Vaccinate everything that can be vaccinated,” Macron said, “because we avoid the virus. That’s the best response for unburdening the healthcare system and having a healthy population. So, we’re going to continue to work on this aspect.”
Macron’s word choice has attracted particular attention in the French Twittersphere and other online media, since he literally said that it was necessary to vaccinate “every-thing” (tout ce) and not, say, “everyone” (tous ceux) that can be vaccinated. But even if he had chosen to refer to people as people rather than things, the very idea of “having to vaccinate” people clearly denies them agency – to say nothing of any possibility of informed consent.
A clip of Macron’s remarks, which were broadcast on the French news channel BFM TV, is available here. They form part of more wide-ranging remarks, complete video of which does not appear to be available online.
But another extract posted on the BFM website appears to show the immediate lead-up to the “vaccinate everything” comment and suggests that Macron was responding to a question, more precisely, about whether reintegrating hospital staff who were suspended for having refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19 might help to address staffing shortages in French emergency rooms.
“Reintegrating unvaccinated healthcare workers is absolutely not an answer to the problem,” Macron says, not only because, according to him, they represent just a “tiny minority,” but also because – “if we’re honest” – the unvaccinated staff have “a dubious relationship to care and to ethics.” The French government made Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for healthcare workers in September 2021.
Macron’s remarks on “vaccinating everything that can be vaccinated” come after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s recent call to “further step up vaccination” throughout the EU and the Commission’s issuing of a detailed strategy for doing so starting in the fall.