French President Emmanuel Macron has refused to rule out mandatory Covid-19 vaccination as millions of French people remain unvaccinated despite a rise in cases.

Upon being asked by the French television channels TF1 and LCI on Wednesday whether vaccination against Covid-19 would become mandatory in the future, Macron replied, “This hypothesis exists,” before noting that France was not far off from being fully vaccinated anyway.

The French president did encourage the “little more than 5 million of our fellow citizens who are not vaccinated” to “take responsibility” and get their jabs. He argued that the unvaccinated “are not protected” from the virus, noting that they are behind a recdent surge in hospitalizations.

Macron emphasized that mass vaccination was “the first pillar” of defense against Covid-19 in France. As for the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11, Macron told his interviewers that the decision would “be up to the parents.”

He also refused to rule out any restrictions over Christmas, claiming that “one always needs to be cautious on such issues.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 108 million vaccine doses have been administered in France.

Covid-19 cases in France have been on a steady rise since October and the introduction of the Omicron variant. Last week, nearly 336,000 cases were recorded – an increase of 52,610 cases over the week before.