French MPs approve ‘vaccine pass’ after Macron vows to ‘piss off’ unvaxxed citizens — Analysis
Bill wants to require proof that you have been immunized before being allowed to enter public places.
France’s National Assembly has passed a bill which, if approved by Senate next week, would make vaccination against Covid a must for those wishing to eat out, visit cultural venues, and travel across the country.
After several days of intense debate at the French Parliament’s lower chamber, lawmakers gave their approval to an act of parliament that aims to combat the growth of Covid. 221 MPs voted in favor, 93 opposed, and 27 abstained.
Among the measures featured in the bill is the introduction of so-called ‘vaccine passes’, to replace the existing ‘health passes’ which people have to present in order to be able to visit cafes, bars, and restaurants, as well as cinemas, museums, and interregional public transport. A health pass is available to anyone who has been treated for Covid in the last six months and/or was vaccinated. Another avenue is still available under the current system. A negative PCR/antigen test can give access to a 24-hour health pass.
The vaccine pass, however, would look different. As the name implies, it wouldn’t be exchanged for negative tests results. Instead, it would only be issued to individuals who had been completely vaccinated or have just recovered.
Everyone over the age of 12 would have to comply, except for those suffering from medical exceptions.
Far-right and far left parties came up against the bill at the National Assembly.
Adding fuel to the fire was President Emmanuel Macron’s comment to a French newspaper on Tuesday, where he defined his strategy as “Take a piss off” the unvaccinated. Macron said that only a “Very small numbers” was still recalcitrant, adding that his government would be putting more pressure to limit those people’s social lives, in a bid to make them embrace vaccination
Senate will start discussing the bill next Tuesday, with Emmanuel Macron’s government hoping to pass it into law by January 15. This could be delayed, however, as the Republicans have said they will refer the controversial legislation to France’s Constitutional Council. The conservatives want it to check whether the need to protect the French people from Covid was “Balanced” against the need to respect the citizens’ personal freedoms.
On Wednesday, 332,000 new Covid cases were reported in France – a new daily record not only for that country, but for any nation in Europe. Since the introduction of Omicron in France, the incidence of Covid has increased steadily. It’s estimated that there are five million Covid-infected French citizens.
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