July 1, 2022

in effect earlier than expected?

VACCINE PASS. Gabriel Attal announced, Tuesday, December 21, 2021, the schedule for setting up the vaccine pass to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic in France. It should be implemented in less than a month.

[Mis à jour le 21 décembre à 13h30] “The sooner we have the vaccination pass, the sooner we will be protected”. Gabriel Attal’s words say a lot about the government’s state of mind in the face of the increase in Covid-19 cases in hospital and the willingness to vaccinate. Tuesday, December 21, 2021, the government spokesperson detailed the schedule for setting up the vaccination pass. Thus, an extraordinary Council of Ministers is convened Monday, December 27 to present the bill. Thus, “Parliament will be in a position to examine the text between Christmas and New Year’s Day,” said Gabriel Attal, from Matignon, where a meeting with local elected officials was organized. This acceleration of the schedule – the bill was initially only to be presented on January 5 – should lead to the adoption of the vaccination pass “from the first half of January”.

The objective is simple and is no longer hidden from the executive: put pressure on non-vaccinated people in order to impose more constraints on them in their daily life, screening no longer being taken into account in the future vaccine pass. The debate will also focus on the introduction or not of this vaccination pass in companies. While Gabriel Attal indicated on France 2, Tuesday, December 21, that “the objective is to encourage vaccination as much as possible because we can still see that it is our best tool in the face of progress of the epidemic “, Elisabeth Borne, Minister of Labor, received on Monday the employers ‘and employees’ unions. But the latter are “not enthusiastic” according to the government spokesperson.

Practical information

Jean Castex announced Friday that a bill would be examined “at the beginning of January, in particular to transform the health pass into a vaccine pass”. The government also wants to “tighten the conditions of control and sanctions against false passes.” The bill could be considered at the first Council of Ministers next year, on January 5, 2022, and should be debated in the National Assembly the following week. If no date is for daylight saving time, the government wants the vaccination pass to come into effect at the end of January. It is quite likely that the government can keep its calendar: the presidential majority in the National Assembly should validate the bill, but the Senate could slow down its adoption.

As soon as it comes into force, the vaccination pass will be available to all people with a complete vaccination schedule. To do this, you must have taken both doses, or one if you have already been infected with the coronavirus, and the booster dose if you are affected by the latter. Details should be provided by the government quickly.

In Europe, some countries have already adopted the vaccine pass since the arrival of the fifth wave. Thus, this is the case in Austria since November 15 already, and in Germany, in certain places only (restaurants, bars, hairdressing salons and sports halls) where the test is no longer valid.

With this measure, the government clearly aims to “put the strain on the unvaccinated” in the words of the Prime Minister, who judges that it is “no longer possible” to have 6 million unvaccinated in the country. During his speech, Jean Castex recalled the importance of vaccination and booster, particularly in the “speed race” against the coronavirus and the Omicron variant which “should be in the majority in the territory from the start of the year” , he said. In addition, he specified that this law should make it possible to “tighten the controls and the sanctions against the false pass”.

At the heart of concerns also, the rise of the Omicron variant, very contagious and which could be “dominant” in France from the start of 2022, according to Jean Castex. The Prime Minister recalled the importance of barrier gestures before the holidays by encouraging the French to “wear a mask, avoid hugs, regularly ventilate enclosed places”. With the end of year celebrations, the need to avoid large tables. Without wishing to quote “a precise number”, the Prime Minister clarified that “the fewer we are, the less risks we take.”

The vaccination pass will therefore be strictly reserved for vaccinated people, where the health pass was broader. To enter places subject to this pass (restaurants, places of culture, recreation, etc.), a negative test will no longer be sufficient: it will necessarily be necessary to have been vaccinated (or cured of the Covid) and to have received a booster dose. Access to trains will also be subject to this vaccination obligation if the law is passed.

More than ten countries are already using the vaccination pass around the world. Recently, Sweden opted for the vaccination pass from December 1 for indoor gatherings of more than 100 people. A new measure which comes at a time when the country has one of the lowest incidence rates (197 cases per 100,000 inhabitants) in Europe. Since November 18, the Czech Republic also uses this system. To enter shops and restaurants, hotels, museums or sporting events, you must be vaccinated or cured of Covid-19. Even more stringent, Latvia, which announced that unvaccinated deputies have been suspended from their duties since November 15. A decision that should last at least until July 2022 and then will be reviewed every two months. Finally, Estonia, which combines technology and the vaccine passport. Indeed, the country had launched a digital “immune passport” in June 2021 for all employees in the country. Thus, once employees have arrived at their workplace, they must present their mobile phone to a terminal which analyzes their immune system in the face of Covid-19.