France Joins Several Other Countries Requiring Vaccine Passports

(Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)

Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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France has joined the list of countries to require a vaccine passport in order to partake in certain activities.

France’s new rules came into effect Monday, as the country will now require people to show a vaccine passport in order to eat in restaurants, ride trains, or go to events such as soccer games, according to The Associated Press. Beyond France, Italy, Israel and China all have vaccine passports to enter certain places. Other countries in the EU, such as the U.K., are also considering such measures.

France’s vaccine passport includes a QR code that shows whether or not an individual has been vaccinated or has recently taken a COVID-19 test that has come up negative, the AP reported. Authorities believe that by requiring these virus passes, it will encourage more people to get the vaccine without directly mandating it. In France, 36 million people have been vaccinated, which is about 54% of the population, the AP noted.

However, many restaurants in the city of Marseille were not checking virus passes Monday, as restaurant owners do not see it as their job to enforce the law, the AP reported.

The pass is also required to ride on the country’s train system, which moves 400,000 people about the country per day in France, Transport Ministry chief Jean-Baptiste Djebbari claimed. France will also require passengers on long-distance planes and busses to have a functioning pass, according to the AP. The vaccine passport will also be required in hospitals for visitors and patients, except for in the emergency ward.

Those who do not have a pass in areas where they are required to have one will eventually be fined 135 euros, but authorities said that police enforcing the new law will use the first week to explain the law to people rather than fining them for non-compliance instantly, the AP reported.

Italy also began enforcing new COVID-19 restrictions Aug. 6 that requires individuals to provide vaccine passes. The pass, called the “Green Pass,” will allow individuals to get into bars, restaurants, or tourist attractions if they’ve been vaccinated or have a recent negative COVID-19 test, according to CBS News.

Italy announced it would be implementing “Green Pass” laws July 22, about two weeks before they were first enforced. By late July, 50 million of the country’s 60 million residents had downloaded a “Green Pass,” CBS News reported. Individuals under 12 years of age are exempt from Green Pass laws because they are not yet eligible for the vaccine in Italy.

Israel has a “Green Pass” system of its own, and began requiring people to show that they had natural or vaccine-induced immunity earlier this year, BBC News reported.

As the vaccination rate among Israel’s population grew, authorities no longer required proof of vaccination. However, a recent spike in cases caused the Israeli government to reimplement these restrictions, the BBC noted. After July 29, individuals were not allowed to attend large events or enter certain spaces if they do not provide proof of vaccination, natural immunity, or a recent negative COVID-19 test, according to The Times of Israel.

The U.K. could also be putting vaccine pass requirements in place in short order. While areas or venues that are considered “higher risk,” such as nightclubs, are currently not required to check guests’ vaccination status, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that the government plans “to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather” by the end of September, BBC reported. At these venues, individuals would be required to show their NHS Covid Pass using the health system’s Covid Pass app, according to the BBC.

China implemented a QR code system last year that divided the population based into colors, which corresponded to how free the individual’s movement can be. Green color individuals can move about freely while Yellow individuals may be asked to self-quarantine for seven days, the BBC claimed. (RELATED: China Watchdogs Urge Biden To Ban Vaccine Passports)

China then released a digital health certificate that includes vaccination status and previous test results in March. Chinese and foreign nationals can obtain a digital health certificate, and the Chinese government reportedly hopes this pass can be used as a vaccine passport for international travel in the future, according to the BBC.