French artists say they’re ready for Covid vaccine in bid to encourage uptake

Théâtre Saint-Georges in Paris, among the many venues closed because of the pandemic.
Théâtre Saint-Georges in Paris, among the many venues closed because of the pandemic. REUTERS - BENOIT TESSIER

200 leading figures in the field of arts and entertainment in France have signed a petition saying they are ready to be vaccinated against Covid 19 as soon as possible.


They hope that others will follow their example in a country where 58% of those polled say they do not want to be vaccinated, and the government campaign is slow to get off the ground.

Among those who signed an appeal published in the Parisian newspaper are Daniel Auteuil - best known outside France for his role in the films Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources – and French actor Lambert Wilson.

"We are committed to having the vaccination as soon as possible as a decisive act in the general attempt to control the pandemic," says the text, which is signed by dozens of well-known French personalities including several theatre directors and others who are prominent in French cultural life.

The appeal was launched by Stanislas Nordey, the director of the Théâtre de Strasbourg. The area in the east of France including Strasbourg has been particularly badly hit by Covid-19.

Theatres in France are currently closed alongside cinemas and museums, with only a brief reprieve in the summer.

At the end of November, President Emmanuel Macron announced that they might re open in mid-December if the number of Covid-19 cases diminished but an upsurge in infections meant such hopes were dashed.

It was then suggested that they might re open on 7 January but that date too has been dropped.

Taking action

"If we carry on at this pace, venues will still be closed in a year’s time," Nordey told Le Parisien newspaper. "We can’t keep just complaining. This petition is a way of doing something to try to get out of this standstill."

Being vaccinated was "a civic gesture" he said, urging artists to share in a "collective responsibility" to try to beat the virus.

Nordey said the reponse from those he contacted was immediate and unanimous and that though some people didn’t reply when contacted, no one actually refused.

"I think everyone feels that if we do nothing, we will never get out of this mess. We wanted to send a strong message but one that comes from us, not the government."

He hopes others will step forward to set an example, in other sectors which have been badly hit.

"If those in the restaurant business want to join in our action, they are most welcome," he added.


Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning