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14 July 2021

How Emmanuel Macron’s “health passes” have led to a surge in vaccine bookings in France

The French president’s plan to limit freedoms for the unvaccinated has led to a record rise in appointments.  

By Michael Goodier

The number of people booking vaccinations in France has soared in the past two days, as people rush to get jabbed before an extension of the “health passes” system is introduced. The announcement – made by Emmanuel Macron on 12 July – introduced a range of measures that aim to boost vaccination take-up by limiting freedoms for the unvaccinated.

 

 

The measures include mandatory vaccinations for hospital workers and carers, as well as requiring a vaccine or recent Covid-19 test in order to access places such as bars, shops and cinemas, and to take long-distance journeys on public transport.

The announcement has already proven successful at increasing vaccine appointments.

In France you can book a vaccine by directly phoning a vaccination centre, or online through various booking websites: Doctolib, Maiia and KelDoc. Doctolib reported a dramatic increase in bookings after Macron’s statement, with the service crashing as people tried to book appointments. In the past two days as many people have booked an appointment using the service as in the previous 18 days put together.

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In the UK, the government has not made Covid-19 passports mandatory, and has only encouraged businesses to adopt them for large events and in high-risk settings. 

However in guidance released on Monday it said: “If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the government will consider mandating certification in certain venues at a later date.”

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With the UK vaccination roll-out slowing, the government will be looking at the French experience closely.