Coronavirus: Towards a “Vaccination Certificate” to go to the Theatre or to a Restaurant?

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Pfizer announces that its vaccine against Covid-19 is "90% effective"

A quote from Christophe Barbier, viral on social networks, suggests that a “vaccination certificate” would condition our trips in the future. In fact, the editor made this proposal on his Twitter account, it is not a government project

  • A publication widely relayed on Facebook suggests that the vaccine against Covid-19 could become a kind of “pass” to frequent public places.
  • These words are taken from a “video editorial” by Christophe Barbier, in which the journalist philosopher aloud.
  • The government has never mentioned such a project.

Will a  “vaccination certificate ” against the coronavirus soon be compulsory to frequent certain public places? Several viral publications present a quote from journalist and columnist Christophe Barbier as a resounding scoop, which has sparked the ire of many Internet users on social networks.

According to a visual seen more than 400,000 times since its publication on November 14th, the former editorial director of L’Express would have said: “If you are not vaccinated you will not be able to go to the restaurant, to the theatre, or to take the plane… You will have to have a vaccination certificate as a pass to be in the company. 

In a news conducive to fantasies, even though the state of health emergency has been extended until February 16th – and more and more laboratories are announcing that they have developed a vaccine against Covid-19 -, it is good to give context to these comments.

Not Government Policy

If these words were spoken by Christophe Barbier in a “video editorial” published on his Twitter account on Tuesday, November 10, they are only the reflection of his thoughts. They are therefore not based on any government source or confidential information to which the journalist would have had access. The former editorial director of L ‘ Express only commits him when he proposes to set up a “vaccination certificate” to be carried in certain public places.

But can we really restrict the freedom of those who do not wish to be vaccinated? If the refusal of vaccination still exposed, a few years ago, to six months in prison and a 3,750 euro fine, this sanction provided for in the Public Health Code was abolished by Agnès Buzyn shortly after her arrival at the Ministry of Health in 2017.

In 2015, the Constitutional Council recognized the obligation to vaccinate children as complying with “the constitutional requirement of health protection”. Thus, the lack of vaccination can lead a nursery or a school to refuse a child if he has not received  one of the eleven compulsory vaccines . And  criminal penalties remain in effect  for parents who compromise the health of their child. But proof of vaccination is not required to attend a theater or restaurant.

Towards a compulsory vaccine?

Many politicians are nevertheless calling for the establishment of a compulsory vaccine against Covid-19 , such as MEP Yannick Jadot (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts), or the president of the region Ile-de-France, Valérie Pécresse (ex-Les Républicains), Monday morning on BFMTV.

This idea is far from unanimous. For the president of the National Gathering, Marine Le Pen, each French should have the choice in his “heart of hearts” . Asked about France 3, Julien Bayou, national secretary of EELV, feared that the compulsory nature of the vaccine would “reduce the desire to be vaccinated” within the population.

In any case, a vaccine obligation remains very hypothetical for the time being. The High Authority for Health estimated last week  that, “in the current context, vaccination against Covid-19 should not be mandatory” because of a “poorly known vaccine delivery schedule and the lack of perspective on future vaccines, as well as on their ability to limit the contagion of the virus ”.

Caution is required in government

For its part, the government has not explicitly addressed the issue of compulsory vaccination. Gabriel Attal, the government spokesperson, estimated last week that “it is very early to say (…) the conditions under which we will deploy a vaccine even though no vaccine has been definitively validated”. A caution shared by Olivier Véran in an interview with the regional dailies of the Ebra group published on Monday: “The vaccination campaign will begin only when we have all the guarantees to safely vaccinate the population,” assured the Minister of Health.

“My fear is that the French are not getting enough vaccinations,” Jean Castex told  Le Monde  this weekend. According to the daily, the Prime Minister’s entourage would be reluctant to make vaccination against Covid-19 compulsory. If such a decision was taken, the government and Parliament should at least go through the passage of a law, such as in 2017 when the list of required vaccinations from three to eleven.

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