02.08.2021 Europe

French president uses social media to counter "false information" about vaccines

By David Coffey with RFI
AP - John Thys
LISTEN AUG 2, 2021
AP - John Thys

In selfie and T-shirt mode, French President Emmanuel Macron took to Instagram and Tik Tok to answer questions on France's vaccination campaign, in a bid to counter "false information" and rumours which have been circulating on social networks. 

Macron, who is on holiday at the Fort de Brégançon presiential retreat on the Côte d'Azur, posted a short one-minute video on social media, filming himself.

In his piece, Macron underlined that vaccination is "the only weapon" against a fourth wave of Covid-19.

"I know that many of you are still wondering, are afraid, many are hearing false information, false rumours, sometimes complete rubbish - it must be said - so I have decided to answer your questions directly. Go ahead, ask me and I will try to be as direct and clear as possible," explained the French head of state.

Macron's initiative comes as the third consecutive Saturday of demonstrations against a Covid health pass was marked by increased mobilisation of more than 200,000 people.

Conspiracy theories
Among the first questions visible on Instagram this Monday was from an Internet user who has "already had (his) two doses" and wanted to know if a "3rd dose is possible in 6 months".

Another was the testimony of a woman saying "vaccinated and liberated!"

One question posted on Macron's account was: "What's the point of vaccinating when in some regions wearing a mask outside has become compulsory again?", "How can you prove that the vaccine minimises severe forms?", "What's in this vaccine?"

Other users asked: "Is it true that there is a 5G chip in it?", "Is it sure that this vaccine does not shorten our lifespan?"

Some also asked Emmanuel Macron if he himself has been vaccinated.

Vaccine roll out continues
On the vaccination front, the Ministry of Solidarity and Health said Sunday that 42,592,047 people have received at least one injection (63.2% of the total population) and 35,472,139 people have now achieved full vaccination (52.6% of the total population).

The number of people hospitalised on Saturday, according to Santé Publique France, was 7,409 compared with 7,363 on Friday, and the number of people in critical care units, where the most seriously ill are treated, was 1,099 compared with 1,072 the previous day.

The number of new positive cases on Saturday was 23,471 compared to 24,309 on Friday, with a stable rate of positivity of 4.3%.

The disease has however killed 43 people in 24 hours in hospital, according to Saturday's figures, bringing the total number of deaths to 111,898 since the start of the pandemic.

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