Tuesday, January 18

Covid-19. Vaccine pass: what are the changes made by the senators to the bill debated on Tuesday?

After an agitated adoption by the deputies, the Senate dominated by the right-wing opposition in turn seized on Tuesday the bill transforming the health pass into a vaccination pass, which it should vote in first reading at the cost of “adjustments” . The examination in the hemicycle, that the LR chairman of the Law Commission François-Noël Buffet wishes “appeased and serious”, is scheduled from this afternoon and can continue on Wednesday, evenings included.

About twenty LR senators against the vaccination pass

“The solid majority which will vote it will be vigilant on a certain number of conditions, in particular the defense of freedoms, the limitation in time and the always control of the Parliament”, explained the president LR Gérard Larcher on France Inter. He admitted that about twenty senators from his party will not support the vaccination pass. The vote will be taken with the objective of “bringing better health security to the French,” he added.

Mr. Larcher will himself be on the set to kick off the discussion, a priori pledge of a good holding of the exchanges, after three days and nights of agitated debates last week in the National Assembly, electrified by the Controversial remarks by Emmanuel Macron, ready to “piss off the unvaccinated”.

The Minister of Health Olivier Véran, whom the senators reproach for being rare at the Luxembourg Palace, will also be present for the opening of the debates.

“We will vote overwhelmingly the vaccine pass”, promised Monday the president of the LR group Bruno Retailleau, in an interview with Les Echos. The centrists should be on the same line. The PS senators can for their part hardly oppose the text while they advocate a general vaccination obligation. But they reserve their position.

Under 18s not affected by the pass in the amended version

As adopted by the deputies, the project provides that those over 12 must 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 for access to health establishments and services. The deputies postponed from 12 to 16 years the need for a vaccination pass for school trips and peri and extracurricular activities.

Senators have simplified things by planning to limit the possibility of requiring the presentation of a vaccination pass to people over 18 years of age. Minors aged 12 to 17 would remain subject to the obligation to present a health pass.

An extinction mechanism below 10,000 hospital patients

Another major modification, which the Republicans are particularly keen on: Philippe Bas has provided for a mechanism for “automatic extinction” of the vaccination pass. Thus, it could only be imposed when the number of hospitalizations linked to Covid-19 exceeds 10,000 patients nationally, and would automatically disappear below this threshold. The vaccination pass could then only be maintained in the departments where the complete vaccination rate is less than 80% of the population and with a high incidence rate. Hospitals now have nearly 23,000 patients sick with Covid, according to figures from health authorities.

The senators have also purely and simply deleted the provisions relating to the control of teleworking in companies.

Once the bill has been passed by the Senate, deputies and senators will meet in a joint committee to try to find an agreement on a common version. Possibly from Thursday, according to a parliamentary source.

In case of failure, a new reading will be organized in both chambers. The Assembly would have the last word, but the timetable could be difficult to keep, especially in the event of an appeal to the Constitutional Council. The government is now advancing the date of January 17 for the entry into force of the law, a “playable” objective, Minister responsible for Relations with Parliament Marc Fesneau ruled on Monday.


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