Vaccine pass: what does it involve and when will it come into effect?

Published by Caroline J., My B., Laurent P., Graziella L. · Published on 17 January 2022 at 11h36
How to get it, where to show it, who does it apply to, what sanctions in case of offence? Here is more about the government’s latest health law expected to implement the vaccine pass in France.

The vaccine pass is the French government’s latest major measure to fight against Covid-19. What does the law eventually passed by the Parliament this Sunday January 16, 2022, after weeks of debates, involve?

After a few turns and twists, the executive managed to limit the shapes of their vaccine pass likely to look like the health pass we have been getting familiar with. The main difference between the two documents yet remains considerable: “from now on, only vaccination is valid in the pass”, Jean Castex announced this past December 17 at a press brief. No, you cannot go to the movie theater or restaurant by getting tested a few hours before.

After introduction this December 27 to the Council of Ministers, the bill has been passed this January 16, 2022, after a second reading at the Parliament. From now on, the government is waiting to instate the law – aiming at “reinforcing the tools to manage the health situation” – circa January 20, 2022. This Monday January 17, invited on RMC, Christophe Castaner said the vaccine pass will come into effect “by the end of the week, if everything goes as planned”.

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The bill about the vaccinal pass has eventually been passed by the Parliament, this Sunday January 16, 2022, after one last vote at the National Assembly, ending weeks of debates. [Read more]

Who does the vaccine pass applies to and where?

But then, what does this bill transforming the health pass into a vaccine pass involve and who does it apply to?

Ultimately, the famous vaccine pass will apply to all French aged 16+. The 1st article of the bill plans people from 16 years of age will have to present a vaccine pass to access leisure activities, restaurants (excluding collective restaurants), bars, fairs, seminars, and business shows, without forgetting interregional commutes (planes, trains, buses). Yet, the bill passed plans an exception for transit: the vaccine pass will not be required in the event of a “urgent family or health-related reason” subject to showing a negative test, “excluding in an emergency”.

What about accessing health facilities and medical-social venues? Excluding emergency, people over the age of 12 will have to show a simple health pass (complete vaccinal scheme, negative Covid test, or recovery certificate) to be allowed in. The measure will apply to both sick and their relatives.

Last but not least, the vaccine pass will not apply to underaged from 12 to 15 years old. The latter will be still subject to the current health pass if they wish to enjoy leisure areas, restaurants and bars, fairs, and interregional public transit.

Whilst the presidential elections are just around the corner, a health pass could be required for political meetings. As for show venues and stadiums, the law passed at the Parliament reads the public’s access rules will be adapted taking into account “the health situation” of the moment and the “features” of these venues. Furthermore, a decree could require the presentation of both a vaccinal status certificate and a negative test in the name of the “public health interest”.

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Jean Castex announced the vaccine pass is to come into effect on January 24, 2022. Many places will then be closed to non-vaccinated people. Here is more about places it involves. [Read more]

Sanctions in the event of offense

The government also wants to wage war on offenders. Although the forces of order are allowed to control these passes, managers of places subject to the vaccine pass can also check the door opener, but depending on well-specified conditions. Therefore, “when there are serious reasons to think the document does not apply to the person presenting it […] an official document with their picture” could be required.

The bill also plans sanctions if one shows a pass belonging to someone else and giving it to someone else so they can use it in a fraudulent way. In this case, this person exposed themselves from the very first failure to a €1,000-flat-fee fine, instead of €135 at the moment.

The government also plans to heavily fine people holding several fake passes. They expose themselves to five years of jail and a €75,000-fine.

Another sanction planned by the bill passed at the second reading? A €1000-fine from the first failure in the event the manager of a place open to the public fail to check the pass.

Last but not least, companies not complying with the work-from-home rule expose themselves to an administrative fine that can go up to €5,000 per employee, limited within the limit of €50,000.

What about health emergency?

Because of the health emergency in overseas territories, the law plans the extension of the health emergency until March 31 in Martinique, Reunion, Guadeloupe, Guiana, Mayotte, Saint-Barthelemy, and Saint-Martin.

In mainland France, the transitory regime aka “health emergency exit” is instated until July 31, 2022.

How to get the vaccine pass?

Last but not least, the bill specifies the conditions to get the vaccine pass: complete vaccine scheme (two or one dose, depending on the vaccine) is not the only option to get the document. As a matter of fact, a recovery certificate and/or a contraindication certificate to the vaccine enable to activate the pass.

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Careful, for your information, from February 15th, you have four months (and no longer seven) to get your booster after the second dose for the pass to stay valid.

Practical information

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