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France warns vaccines could be mandatory – but could the UK follow suit?

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France has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases of any European country with more than 5.8m since the pandemic began. Amid a surge in cases, the French President announced new measures aimed at addressing the rise in cases driven by the new Delta variant. Mandatory vaccines for health workers is one such initiative, with Emmanuel Macron hinting this could soon be extended to include all French citizens.

French President Emmanuel Macron raised the possibility of making the Covid vaccine compulsory for all citizens on Monday.

He said from September all health workers must get the jab but also speculated about making the vaccine compulsory for everyone else as well.

Speaking to the nation, he said: “We must go towards vaccination of all French people, it is the only way towards a normal life.”

Mr Macron added: “A new race against the clock is on. We may need to ask ourselves the question of mandatory vaccination for all.”

President Macron said all healthcare workers in France must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September or risk not being paid.

He said: “I am aware of what I am asking of you, and I know that you are ready for this commitment, this is part, in a way, of your sense of duty.”

Anyone who comes into contact with vulnerable people will be required to get vaccinated.

This applies to all workers in hospitals, clinics and care homes – regardless of their roles.

Health Minister Olivier Véran told France’s LCI television these workers must be vaccinated by September 15 or risk not being paid.

Almost one million people in France made vaccine appointments in a single day after Mr Macron urged citizens to get vaccinated.

An app that centralises France’s vaccine and other medical appointments, Doctolib revealed 926,000 people had made appointments Monday.

This is a daily record for the country since vaccinations began in December.

People aged under 35 made up 65 percent of the new appointments.

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In the UK, everyone working in care homes will need to be vaccinated from October.

There will be a 16-week grace period to enable social care workers to get jabbed.

At the time of the announcement last month, the Health Ministry said 1.2 social care workers had already been jabbed – equating to 78 percent of the workforce.

Anyone coming into care homes including tradespeople and hairdressers will also have these rules apply to them.

Countries like the UK have libertarian roots and value individual freedom.

This means mandatory vaccination initiatives are often met with backlash.

A recent study found that the UK has the highest vaccine confidence internationally at almost 90 percent.

However many Government Ministers have been keen to stress that mandatory vaccinations are unlikely for the whole population.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the use of Covid vaccine passports.

He said Covid passports could be introduced for the first time in England and said people must exercise “extreme caution” despite removing all legal limits.

The recommendation to use vaccine passports could become mandatory according to new Government documents.

Covid passports have been trialled at some events over the summer as part of a government research programme – and could be mandated in nightclubs, pubs and more venues.

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