PARIS — France’s government is forging ahead with efforts to increase pressure on unvaccinated people to get coronavirus jabs, as the omicron variant fuels a record surge in infections.
At a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday afternoon, the health minister will defend a government plan to allow only the fully vaccinated to enjoy continued access to places such as restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums, and sports arenas.
The speeded-up introduction of the so-called “vaccine pass” forms part of a government strategy to use vaccinations, rather than new lockdowns, to try to soften the impact of the fast-spreading omicron variant on already overburdened hospitals.
France reported nearly 180,000 new cases of COVID-19 infection on Tuesday, a record, and is bracing for that number to keep increasing, with forecasts warning of more than 250,000 daily infections likely by January.
France has vaccinated more than 75% of its population and is rushing out booster shots, again to combat omicron. But more than 4 million adults remain unvaccinated.
The government wants the vaccine pass to be in place by mid-January. If approved by parliament, its introduction will mean that unvaccinated people will no longer be able to use negative test results to access places where the vaccine pass is required.