Officials hope the bill goes into effect by January 15, as France faces an increase in infections.
France’s parliament has approved President Emmanuel Macron’s plans for a COVID vaccine pass to help curb the spread of the Omicron variant following a heated debate sparked by Macron’s remarks that he wanted to “p ** s off” the unvaccinated.
Macron told the newspaper Le Parisien earlier this week that he wanted to make the lives of those who refused the COVID-19 vaccine so complicated by forcing them out of public places that they would eventually be picked.
Macron’s crude language, barely three months before a presidential election, was widely regarded as politically calculated, which sparked growing public frustration against the unvaccinated.
More than 90 percent of those over 12 received at least two doses, government data show. Health Minister Olivier Veran said a record number of people since October 1 received a first shot on Wednesday after Macron’s comments were published.
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday approved draft legislation, including the vaccine pass shortly after 5 a.m. local time (4 a.m. GMT) after an all-night session with a margin of 214 to 93. Many of those who voted against the account was from far right or hard left.
The legislation will go to the Senate before a final vote in the National Assembly.
People in France had to show proof of vaccination for months or a negative COVID-19 test to enter venues such as theaters and cafes and use trains.
But with Delta and Omicron variants infections, the government decided to abandon the test option in the new bill.
The vaccine pass rules will apply to those over 16, and not over 12 as the government initially sought.
European countries are divided on how to force citizens to be vaccinated.
Italy on Wednesday made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for people over the age of 50, with teachers and public health workers already obliged to get the shot. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has slammed those who refuse vaccinations, but said he would not force anyone to get a stab.
Prime Minister Jean Castex said countries that had moved to compulsory vaccinations, such as Italy and Austria, had lower vaccination rates than France.
Castex also said France were ready to move to a fourth COVID shot when the time was right.
France on Wednesday recorded a record more than 332,000 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, and a further 246 COVID deaths in hospitals.