by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
Protests have been breaking out across Paris, France over the country’s establishment of a vaccine passport. A law approved in French parliament on Monday, July 23 requires “special virus passes for all restaurants and domestic travel” and also requires health care workers to be vaccinated. The special “virus pass” will be required, not only for adults, but for children 12 and up starting at the end of September. France’s vaccine passport is part of a government initiative to get more French citizens vaccinated. For comparison, 47.5% of France’s population and 50.2% of the United State’s population are fully vaccinated, as of Friday, July 27.
Protesters have filled the streets in opposition to the new law. Demonstrators took on shouting “Liberty!” as a rallying cry. Yesterday those protesters were met with police forces and tear gas.
American politicians have shown interest in vaccination passports. You might recall the Biden administration was taking a “very close look” at vaccine passports for travel, and for North Carolinians, the state has begun issuing officially state-certified vaccination cards. Back in April, NC politicians called for Governor Roy Cooper to publically reject the notion of a vaccine passport. While vaccination passports are not mandated for travel and dining out across the Carolinas, Hawaii has been issuing a vaccine passport for vacationers since July 8. The Biden administration has also issued a vaccine mandate for government employees, including the military. North Carolinians have proven split on the issue of vaccine passports. In a Civitas Poll conducted in May 2021, 49% of North Carolinians said they would support vaccine passports for the use of international travel, whereas 44% said they opposed the idea.
France and America are historically intertwined with the ideas of liberty and revolution. You may remember from history class that America’s revolutionary war helped inspire the French Revolution, and the statue of Liberty was a gift from France to America. The protests in Paris serve as a warning for American politicians thinking about imposing vaccine mandates or vaccine passports – the public will likely not take it lying down.
Watch Amy Cooke, CEO of the John Locke Foundation, discuss NC politicians’ push against vaccine passports in the video below.