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President of France Emmanuel Macron intends to introduce stronger vaccine policies if re-elected.

The available evidence suggests that President Macron's government is in the process of removing restrictions, rather than tightening them.

In the heightened political tensions surrounding the French presidential election, people on social media are making and sharing a variety of false claims about French President Emanuel Macron’s policy intentions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Some of these posts assert that Macron and his party, ‘La République En Marche,’ are intending to reinstate vaccine passes if re-elected, while others further claim that he is intending to make the vaccine compulsory for some or all French citizens. Vaccine passes, which require people to show proof of vaccination to access certain venues and public spaces, have been adopted by many countries over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic as a means of encouraging people to receive the vaccine. Public reception has been mixed and the mandates have been the subject of widespread protest. On January 24, the French government introduced the vaccine pass, which replaced the ‘health pass’ that citizens had previously used. This pass came with tighter regulations on the requirements for entering restaurants and other public places. French citizens had previously only needed to provide proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to obtain a pass, whereas the new regulations mandated citizens to provide proof of either full vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 within the last 6 months. As of March 14, France has suspended the use of the vaccine pass (except in care homes for the elderly), along with the requirement for masks to be worn in indoor public spaces, though they remain compulsory on public transport. The available evidence suggests that the French government is in the process of removing the restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic, rather than tightening them. The vaccine is still only compulsory for healthcare workers. Other posts have claimed that President Macron intends to make the COVID-19 vaccine compulsory for schoolchildren. It is true the French government has made several vaccines compulsory for children in the past –in 2018, the French government made it compulsory for all children born thereafter to receive a rigorous schedule of 11 vaccines over the course of their first thirteen years – but there is no evidence that Macron intends to extend this to include any of the COVID-19 vaccines. In January, the French health ministry ruled that both parents must consent in order for a child up to age 12 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and one parent for a child aged 12-15. The French government has currently only made the COVID-19 vaccine compulsory for healthcare workers.

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