Brilliant, effective, unfair: Your views on France's health pass

The requirement has been praised by some as a way to go about day-to-day activities more safely but others say it unfairly limits personal freedoms

7 September 2021

The health pass requirement has been praised by some as a way to go about day-to-day activities more safely but others say it unfairly limits personal freedoms Pic: sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock

By Emma Morgan

The French health pass has been widely used by residents and visitors alike since July, and has been deemed a “success” by the government. 

Health Minister Olivier Véran told France 5 on August 30 that: “They’re talking about France’s health pass success abroad. Today, it isn’t just three or five countries which are doing the same thing as us: dozens of countries have followed suit.”

However, the health pass requirement has also been met with opposition by some, with hundreds of thousands of people taking part in protests for the past eight weekends

We asked Connexion readers for their opinions of the health pass. Here is a selection from the hundreds of replies we received.

Readers who are resident in France said:  

  • “It’s an excellent idea and it gives me a greater feeling of security in venues although I do understand vaccinated people can spread the virus as well.”

  • “Although a libertarian myself, I do think that with the right to personal liberty, there also comes a civil responsibility to fellow humans, not to infringe others' rights. I think the protesters need to address this.”

  • “The protestors are a loud minority who don't care for anyone but themselves, much like the gilets jaunes. It is an entirely selfish protest and also so tiny as should be irrelevant. I'm fine using the health pass, and I'm very pleased that anyone that wants to see my elderly mum in her care home, or my elderly and very frail French friend in hospital, has to show one.

  • “[As] a retired medic, [I believe] it’s necessary. Even our grandchildren support it but they’re fully informed - not just by social media. All of us have our pass sanitaire. I feel safer where it’s used and the youngsters prefer not to use the bars that don’t enforce it. 

  • “[I’m] against it as [it is] discriminatory and not useful since the vaccine does not stop the spread of the virus. I have not participated in protests, but I agree with them and support their movement.”

  • “I have no problem with showing the pass - it’s now as automatic as picking up my credit cards. It allows freedom of movement and reassurance that there is some protection when going into public places. If people don’t want to be vaccinated that’s their choice and they have to accept there will be restrictions without it. Surely the rest of us have rights too - to be protected against the virus. Those of us who travel extensively have always had to get vaccinated against certain diseases to gain entry to certain countries so why shouldn’t we accept for France or the UK. We all have to work together to rid ourselves of this terrible pandemic.”

  • “It's brilliant. We've eaten out far more since it was introduced. It's such a relief to know that everyone sitting around you is vaccinated. It must also be a boon for the restaurants. The TousAntiCovid app is informative and clear. We check every evening to see what the current vaccination rate is.”

  • “I think it's a means to an end, however there was a long queue of young men in the pharmacy today obviously getting tests for the weekend. I think there's a risk of causing a testing backlog.”

Visitors to France from the UK said: 

  • “I agree that the pass should be compulsory, including for children. I think that those who do not want to be vaccinated should not attend crowded venues. That is a choice they should take responsibility for.”

  • “The health pass is discriminatory. I cannot risk the vaccine, or any vaccine or meds for severe allergic reactions, so I am treated differently, prevented from a life I am well accustomed to managing in protection of myself and others (though it is others who infect each other while I take precautions to avoid catching social illnesses). As a disabled person I am made to feel like a criminal.”

  • “I am very happy to use it, but am aware that there are groups of people (elderly, economically disadvantaged etc) who will find it challenging. They should be actively supported. Whilst the health passes may or may not be necessary, I think they are effective in the short run, but would be against long term use.”

  • “I do not agree that the health pass is either necessary or effective and support all protest movements against it. It is a major and unwarranted intrusion on our freedom of movement.”

  • “I have no issues with the requirement to use the health pass, although it does seem a little over the top for sitting outside a cafe or bar. But if that's the rule then we will adhere to it. It does manage the acquaintances who have chosen for personal (non medical reasons) not to have the vaccine: no awkward conversations.”

A reader from Canada said: 

  • “We accept the need. [However], we are outraged that the government created a requirement, can't process our data, forbade pharmacies to upload our data and still refuses our Canadian vax certificates.”

An American reader commented: 

“I’m a strong advocate of vaccinations in the interest of public health and I believe those who refuse this vaccine are actually causing the pandemic to last longer and become more deadly. 

“Because of them the increased spread is creating new variants which are a danger to us all. I think the French system is correct in that it rewards those who are acting to protect society as a whole. 

“I did not feel the requirement took away at all from my enjoyment of my trip to France. I wish we could have something similar in the US.”

Related stories 

Checklist: Where and when should I use the French Covid health pass?

Covid health pass rules lifted from over 100 French shopping centres

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