Thursday, May 19, 2022

French Covid jab centres attacked by demonstrators

The vandals were protesting against controversial new measures which include mandatory vaccinations for health workers, and health passes to access most public places.

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Two vaccination centres have been ransacked in France in protests over the government’s introduction of tough new coronavirus rules.

One site in south-east France was vandalised and flooded with fire hoses on Friday night, authorities said.

A day later, another clinic in the south-west was partially destroyed in what local media called an arson attack.

The incidents came on a weekend of demonstrations against Covid measures, the BBC reports.

On Saturday, more than 100,000 people took to the streets across France to denounce rules designed to tackle rising infections.

The controversial measures include mandatory vaccinations for health workers, and health passes to access most public places.

Critics have accused President Emmanuel Macron’s government of violating their freedoms.

Anti-vaccine graffiti was found near a vandalised vaccination centre in Lans-en-Vercors near the south-eastern city of Grenoble. Saturday’s arson attack targeted a clinic in the village of Urrugne near Biarritz in the south-west.

Meanwhile at a rally in Paris on Saturday, French politician Martine Wonner told protesters to “lay siege” to the offices of lawmakers who backed the government’s Covid policies.

A prominent sceptic of Covid vaccines, Wonner faces a potential legal inquiry and was forced to quit her opposition group in parliament on Sunday. She claimed her words had been misconstrued.

France has seen several acts of violence and vandalism against lawmakers who supported the new vaccination rules, and yet hundreds of thousands of people have signed up for the jabs after Macron unveiled the plan last week.

His government is attempting to curb the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, which is causing a surge in hospital admissions.

More than 111,000 people have died with Covid in France during the pandemic, which has severely damaged the country’s economy.

Last week, a panel of scientists who advise the French government warned of a fourth wave in the coming months. Only a little over half of the population has received a first dose and less than 40% have had two shots.

Surveys suggest there is widespread vaccine hesitancy in France.

Fewer than 50% of people in France are likely to accept a Covid-19 vaccination, according to Eurofound’s large-scale Living, Working and Covid-19 online survey.

In February and March, just 48.7% replied that they were likely or very likely to get vaccinated against the Covid-19. This is considerably lower than the EU average at 64.4% with only Bulgaria, Latvia and Croatia scoring lower than France.

However, this is up from a study by Ipsos late last year which found only 40% of people surveyed in France intended to receive a Covid vaccine.

The survey of nearly 50,000 people n the EU also found that men (29%) are more vaccine hesitant than women (25%).

For France, the gender difference is a lot smaller, as 39% of male respondents and 38.5% of female respondents reported being unlikely to take a Covid-19 vaccine.

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