European leaders turn the screws on anti-vaxxers as Omicron rages

World

European leaders turn the screws on anti-vaxxers as Omicron rages

Macron says he wants to ‘p*** off’ the unvaccinated, while Johnson accuses them of spreading ‘nonsense’

Fergal O'Brien and Chris Reiter

From Boris Johnson to Emmanuel Macron, Europe’s leaders are increasingly going after anti-vaxxers as the battle against the fast-spreading Omicron variant deepens the continent’s pandemic fatigue.

Amid a seemingly unstoppable surge in infections, officials are focusing restrictions on unvaccinated people rather than resorting to widespread clampdowns. The strong overall uptake in inoculations has emboldened leaders to go more aggressively after holdouts, prodding them in various ways to roll up their sleeves.

French President Macron took the rhetoric to a new level last week when he said his government’s strategy was to “piss off” those who have refused shots. In the UK, Johnson accused anti-vaxxers of spreading “nonsense”. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who supports making shots compulsory, has labelled the anti-vax movement “a tiny minority of reckless extremists”...

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