|People wearing protective face masks walk in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, January 5, 2022. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes|
The French parliament on Thursday approved President Emmanuel Macron’s plans for a vaccination card to curb the spread of the Omicron variant after Macron sparked a tumultuous debate whipped up by Macron’s comments that he wanted to “piss off” the unvaccinated.
Macron told Le Parisien earlier this week. that he wanted to make life so difficult for those who opposed the COVID-19 vaccine by leading them away from public places that they would end up being jabbed.
Macron’s coarse language barely three months before a presidential election was widely seen as a politically calculated, tapping into a intensifying public frustration against the unvaccinated.
More than 90% of over-12s have received at least two doses, government data shows. Health Minister Olivier Veran said a record number of people since Oct. 1 received a first shot on Wednesday after Macron’s comments were published.
Lawmakers in the lower house passed draft legislation including the vaccine pass shortly after 5 a.m. after an all-night session by a margin of 214 to 93. Many of those who voted against the bill were from the far-right or left-wingers.
The legislation will go to the Senate before a final vote in the National Assembly.
People in France have for several months had to show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter venues such as cinemas and cafes and use trains. But with Delta and Omicron variant infections surging, the government decided to drop the test option in the new bill.
The vaccine pass rules will apply to over-16s and not over-12 as the government had initially sought.
European countries have grappled with the possibility of mandating citizens to force them to vaccinate. Italy on Wednesday made the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for people aged 50 and over, teachers and public health workers are already required to get vaccinated. , Prime Minister Jean Castex said.