French government hopes vaccine pass adopted by mid-January

The decision came only two days before a national protest, organised by the far-right pro-Russian Vazrazhdane (Revival) party, which uses the population’s resistance to COVID-19 measures to generate distrust of the EU.  [Shutterstock / Lena Constantin]

“We are aiming for a definitive adoption of the vaccine pass in the first half of January,” announced government spokesman Gabriel Attal on Tuesday. With the bill being presented to the council of ministers on 27 December, parliament should “examine this text between Christmas and New Year’s Day,” he added.

The vaccine pass proposed by the government will replace the current health pass in the hope that it will help mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jean Castex met with associations of local elected representatives. “He praised their work, their mobilisation and their involvement, particularly in the vaccination campaign,” said Attal, adding that “a consensus is emerging on the need for caution”.

The current COVID-19 situation is worrying the government, prompting it to accelerate the booster campaign, extend vaccination to children aged 5-11, close nightclubs and ban large New Year’s Eve gatherings.

Last weekend, “we estimated that 10% of contaminations in our country were linked to the Omicron variant. We are probably beyond that today, and probably very beyond that in some regions, notably in Ile-de-France,” the government spokesperson also said.

Attal said that while the virus is spreading, the booster vaccination campaign is accelerating. The booster shot has been administered to 20 million French people “four days ahead of our target”, he added.

Other measures like extending school holidays are not on the agenda for the moment.

These “can only be a last resort,” said Attal, before concluding: “Precaution, mobilisation, union. This is how we can collectively take up this challenge”.

(Nelly Moussu | EURACTIV.fr)

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