Macron Has a Profane COVID Strategy for Anti-Vaxxers

'The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off.'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2022 2:21 AM CST
Updated Jan 5, 2022 6:45 AM CST
Macron's Strategy: 'Hassle' the Unvaccinated
France's President Emmanuel Macron leads a special cabinet meeting from the Fort de Bregancon presidential holidays residence, in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southern France, Monday, Dec. 21, 2021.   (Nicolas Tucat, Pool Photo via AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron's COVID-19 strategy? Make those who are not yet vaccinated against the coronavirus really angry. "The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And so, we're going to continue doing so, until the end. That's the strategy," Macron said in an interview with Le Parisien cited by Reuters. Macron's language has been translated a few different ways, with the BBC quoting him as saying he wants to "hassle" the unvaccinated rather than "piss them off" and the AP going with "bug" or "rile." The French word he used was "emmerder," which comes from "merde" ("crap" or "s---"), and however you translate it, it's considered vulgar, per the AP. Macron's rivals were quick to pounce on the language, with far-right leader Marine Le Pen calling him "unworthy of his office," and some also criticized the idea he was conveying.

Since last year, people in France need either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test to get into many venues, and the government is considering turning that into a vaccine passport program that would essentially bar the unvaccinated from much of public life. "I won't send (the unvaccinated) to prison, I won't vaccinate by force," Macron continued. "So we need to tell them, from Jan. 15, you won't be able to go to the restaurant anymore, you won't be able to down one, won't be able to have a coffee, go to the theatre, the cinema." So far, however, the bill has been delayed by opponents. Elections will be held in four months, and Macron said in the interview he'd like to run, but stopped short of formally announcing a re-election bid. (More Emmanuel Macron stories.)

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