France Passes Controversial Vaccine Bill – Free PDF Download

The News

  • Recently, French MPs have approved a controversial vaccine pass bill which requires people to be fully vaccinated to be a part of social gatherings, sporting, leisure and cultural activities.
  • The bill was passed by 214 votes against 93 and 27 abstentions. (Majority required was just 157).

What are the bill provisions?

  • The bill requires people to be fully vaccinated to access “leisure activities, restaurants and drinking establishments, fairs, seminars and trade shows as well as interregional transport” along with cinema halls, theatres, museums and other public places.
    • Before the bill, vaccination was only compulsory for health workers but with this bill, it will be necessary for all in the public sphere.
  • Exceptions: Students between the age group of 12 to 16 going for school outings or extracurricular activities, emergencies and people accompanying and visiting people in social and medico-social services (They need to have Covid negative certificate).
  • The bill imposes heavy fines on people manufacturing fake vaccine passes. (5 Year jail or a fine of 75,000 euros).
  • The bill moves to fine employers whose carelessness to follow the requirements of the new law affects employees. (Fine 1000 – 50000 euros).

Why Controversy?

  • The bill has angered anti-vaccination activists.
  • Some people & anti vaccination MPs even came forward saying they had faced aggression including violent threats and vandalism.
  • Eg: Yaël Braun-Pivet, of the ruling party in France – La République en Marche,
    • “We will not yield,” referring to the death threats that many politicians had received.

Why Controversy?

Now you must be thinking…

  • Why shouldn’t India bring such a law to bring Covid under control?
    • The problem with such stringent actions:
      • The bill would allow vaccination IDs to be checked everywhere by not just police but other citizens too.
      • This would lead to a “totalitarian, authoritarian society”.
    • Then why did France bring it?

Why such a law now?

Why such a law now?

  • With only 4 months to go before the election, Emmanuel Macron is seen as calculatedly going on the offensive, using the management of the COVID-19 pandemic to put his opponents on the back foot.
  • More than 80% of the French are vaccinated, it’s a majority that is exasperated with the restrictions. Macron seems to have taken a leaf out of right wingers, he had said that, antivaxxers were “undermining the solidity of the nation” and that their irresponsibility meant “they were no longer citizens.”

The Trend

  • October 2021 : As a measure to boost vaccination, the French government had stopped providing free Covid tests for unvaccinated people.
  • January 2022: New law making vaccination certificate mandatory to access public places and not just government services.




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