France changes vaccine rules to enforce a vaccine pass to ‘piss of the French anti-vaxxers.’ French MPs on Thursday morning approved a bill to transform the COVID-19 health pass into a vaccine pass.
The bill was adopted at 5:25 am with 214 votes in favour, 93 against, and 27 abstentions.
Prime Minister Jean Castex asked parliamentarians on Wednesday to speed up the process after the blockage caused by President Emmanuel Macron.
Read more in-depth analysis here French lawmakers approve new ‘vaccine pass’ after fierce debate
It will proceed to the Senate early next week and is expected to come into force in the second half of the month.
Macron on a warpath over vaccine pass
Macron said that “the unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off”, adding that the government “will continue to do so, to the bitter end.”
“When my freedom comes to threaten that of others, I become irresponsible. An irresponsible person is no longer a citizen,” he added.
Meanwhile, the country reported a new record high of 332,252 new COVID-19 on Wednesday while the number of hospitalised patients continued to rise, especially in critical care units.
According to Health Minister Olivier Véran, some “5% of hospitalised patients” have fake health passes. The bill increases penalties for fraud.
France changes vaccine rules
It will then be necessary for people over 12 to prove their vaccination status in order to access leisure activities, restaurants and bars, fairs or inter-regional public transport. A negative test will no longer be sufficient, except for access to health facilities and services.
Among their amendments, MEPs postponed the need for a vaccine pass for children aged 12 to 16 for school outings and extracurricular activities.
The government had hoped that the law would come into force by 15 January at the latest but was rebuked on Tuesday — on the first day of debate over the bill — when opposition lawmakers delayed its approval by refusing to continue examining its content overnight.