Vaccine pass: towards final adoption in Parliament after two epic weeks

Opponents of the health pass, which will become a vaccine pass, demonstrate on January 15, 2022 in Paris (AFP / Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT)

This is the epilogue of two turbulent weeks: Parliament must adopt on Sunday, by a final vote of the Assembly, the controversial bill establishing the vaccination pass, which the government wants to see come into force as soon as possible in the face of ” tidal wave” of the Covid-19.

After demonstrations of “antivax” or anti-pass less followed on Saturday, the final reading of this text “reinforcing the tools for managing the health crisis” is scheduled at the Palais Bourbon at 4:00 p.m. The Minister of Health Olivier Véran will not be, being himself affected by the virus.

In addition to the majority, some of the LR and PS deputies voted in favor, at first reading last week. The left of the left and the elected RNs had voted against.

With some adjustments, the right-dominated Senate voted a second time on Saturday evening in favor of this pass which will succeed the health pass, but it is the deputies who have the last word.

While some 300,000 contaminations have been recorded daily on average for a week, the government hopes for the implementation of the vaccination pass around January 20, after possible appeals to the Constitutional Council.

It will then be necessary to be able to justify a vaccination status to access leisure activities, restaurants and bars, fairs or interregional public transport. A negative test will no longer suffice, except to access health facilities and services.

Main contribution of the parliamentary debate, thanks to the Senate: the new pass will only apply to people from the age of 16, the age of “vaccination freedom” against Covid-19, that is to say where it does not there is no need for parental consent.

Minors aged 12 to 15 will remain subject to the obligation to present the current health pass.

– Threats and violence –

For this twelfth health text in two years, a simple week of examination was initially scheduled, for a desired application from January 15. The time finally doubled, between hiccups, controversies and repeated twists, culminating in the declarations of Emmanuel Macron, decided to “piss off” the non-vaccinated.

For the second time under the Fifth Republic between Christmas and New Year, the Law Commission of the Assembly had met to study this text presented urgently in the face of the Omicron wave. The context was heavy, against a backdrop of an upsurge in threats and violence against parliamentarians, often from “anti-vax”.

A long night in plenary session was then scheduled for Monday, January 3, but it was cut short due to a vote at midnight where the majority found itself in the minority.

The calendar continued to derail the following day, after the controversial remarks of Emmanuel Macron which reignited the fire in the hemicycle.

After an intervention by Jean Castex before the deputies, the bill was finally validated at first reading on Thursday January 6 in the early morning. The vote was marked by a split on the right, although LR candidate Valérie Pécresse is in favor of the vaccine pass.

The second round in the Senate at the start of the week was more peaceful, and the upper house marked its distance on several provisions: application of the pass over time, to minors, identity checks by cafeteria owners and restaurateurs…

An agreement deputies-senators on the bill nevertheless seemed within reach on Thursday when a tweet from the boss of senators LR Bruno Retailleau, claiming a “victory of common sense” of his people, shattered this prospect.

The president of the Law Commission Yaël Braun-Pivet (LREM) denounced “an intolerable attack on the institutions”, the LR rapporteur for the Senate Philippe Bas deplored an “excessive reaction” from the majority.

And while each camp accused each other of calculations with the approach of the presidential election, the bill left for a last shuttle between the two assemblies, resulting in this Sunday convocation of the deputies.

© 2022 AFP

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