France ‘holding people at gunpoint’ with Covid health pass, says MP

MP calls for mandatory vaccination for all adults instead of health pass, which is set to be used to access restaurants, cafes and bars from August 9.

5 August 2021
By Joanna York

A French MP has said rules for using the French health pass amount to the government “holding people at gunpoint”.

Valérie Rabault is the Socialist MP for Tarn-et-Garonne, Occitanie, and president of the Socialist group in the Assemblée Nationale.

She told France Inter on August 3: “The health pass has put people in France in opposition with each other because there is not a clear rule.

”This comes as France is set to make the health pass a requirement for all adults to enter public spaces including restaurants, cafes and bars from August 9, subject to approval from France’s Conseil constitutionnel today (August 5). 

The health pass provides proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19, proof of a negative Covid test taken within the past 48 hours, or proof of having tested positive for the virus 11 days to six months before.

It will also apply to children aged 12 upwards from September 30.

MP supports mandatory vaccination instead of pass

Instead of using the pass, Ms Rabault said that mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 should be introduced for all adults in France.

“It is a clear rule”, she said of mandatory vaccination. “It is a rule that can be put into practice in an organised way and that would allow immunity for all people living in France.”

Socialist groups in the Assemblée Nationale and the Senate supported the idea of mandatory vaccination for all adults when new rules for the health pass were put to parliament in July. 

On August 2, the president of the French hospital federation Frédéric Valletoux also called for mandatory vaccination as an alternative to the “complex” health pass.

Read more: ‘Make Covid-19 vaccine mandatory for all’ says French hospital union boss

Ms Rabault said the process of mandatory vaccination could be organised via the Assurance maladie, with the national health provider organising vaccinations for people who are not yet vaccinated by age group, starting with the eldest.

She said this would result in 90% of people in France being vaccinated.

Protests unite opposition against the pass

Ms Rabault also spoke about protests against the health pass, which last weekend saw 200,000 people take to the streets in France.

Many protested against feeling forced into getting vaccinated in order to access public spaces which now require a health pass.

But Ms Rabault said there was a “convergence of opposition” among protestors, including “those who are against the vaccine, those who are vaccinated but are against the pass and those who are not fully vaccinated and are restricted due to the pass”.

She said she felt “a lot of sadness” over people in France who have so far rejected the vaccine. 

“We are paying for a downgrading of science in our country, when believing in progress has always been the motor that has driven our democracy since the French Revolution,” she said.

“We must not have blind faith in science, but we need the ability to reason and a fundamental belief in progress.”

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