On Friday 3rd September, the Congress of New Caledonia voted to make the vaccine against covid compulsory.

After many hours of debate, the permanent commission of the Congress voted unanimously to make vaccination compulsory. The objective of this reform is to accelerate the rate of vaccination. Only one third of the population is vaccinated. Remember that Caledonia is Covid free. In reality, it is a race against time. Elected officials hope that enough people will be vaccinated in the coming months to be able to reopen the airports. This obligation concerns adults present in New Caledonia who have no medical contraindication and people entering the territory.

No sanctions… for the moment
For the time being, this obligation is almost virtual since there are no sanctions in case of refusal. There could be sanctions from 2022. There is talk of a fine of 175,000 CFP francs (2300 Australian dollars). New Caledonia is the fourth country in the world to introduce compulsory vaccination.

The main reason for this choice is undoubtedly the dramatic situation in French Polynesia, where more than 400 people have died in a few months for a population of 279,000. 87% of those who died were not vaccinated.

Elected officials consulted the country before voting
Elected representatives took precautions before voting. They heard representatives of employers, trade unions, civil servants and scientists. This decision was difficult for the elected representatives, but Philippe Michel, a non-independent elected representative, summed up the situation well: “I prefer to be angry with some of our compatriots because we took a measure to protect part of the population, rather than be among those who will be angry with all our compatriots when the variant Delta enters and the country suffers the disaster that Polynesia is experiencing. We must not think that doing nothing about this problem is a solution. If we do nothing, the situation will be much worse.

Anti-vaccine campaigners are not disarmed
The pro-independence government of Louis Mapou will now have to speed up the vaccination campaign. This is not going to be easy, because there is opposition. On Saturday 4 September, more than two thousand people marched through the streets of Noumea to protest against what they described as a deprivation of freedom… The slogans heard in the demonstration did not call for appeasement, far from it…

Photo > Pro and anti independence leaders voted for compulsory vaccination.