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« Passe vaccinal » (i.e. Vaccine certificate) : where are we ?

28/03/2022 - Médias

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Since January 24, 2022, the date of entry into force of the Law reinforcing health crisis management tools, employees, workers and visitors who wish to access places open to the public have to provide proof of a complete vaccination schedule.

The same law reinforced sanctions and instituted a specific administrative fine against employers in the event of a « dangerous situation » linked to exposure to Covid-19.

(i.) The « Passe vaccinal » in establishments open to the public

Since 24 January 2022, the « Passe vaccinal » (i.e. vaccine certificate) has replaced the « Passe sanitaire » (i.e. sanitary certificate) for access to establishments open to the public (in particular, restaurants and pubs, trade fairs, seminars and trade shows, some transports, etc.).

Prior to this date, in the absence of a complete vaccination scheme, the person could present either (i) proof of a negative result less than 24 hours, or (ii) the result of a positive PCR or antigenic test attesting to the recovery of the Covid-19, at least 11 days old and less than 6 months old.

Now, access to these places by persons aged 16 years and over is subject to the presentation of proof of a complete vaccination schedule. These provisions apply to the public as well as to persons working or intervening in these places.

While transitional measures have been put in place until February 15, 2022, all persons over 18 years and one month of age must now have received their repeat dose no later than four months after their last injection in order to maintain their valid vaccination certificate.

People are eligible from three months after their last injection and therefore have one month to booster. After this time, their old vaccination certificate is considered to have expired and is no longer valid.

Nevertheless, the « Passe vaccinal » can be reactivated once the person has had received their repeat dose.

(ii.) Reinforcement of controls and penalties

All managers of establishments open to the public, who are authorised to check the certifacte, will be able to demand, when there are serious reasons to believe that the document is not linked to the person presenting it, the presentation of an official document bearing his or her photograph in order to check the concordance between the identity elements mentioned on these documents.

Persons presenting a certificate belonging to another person or transmitting a genuine certificate for fraudulent use, as well as managers of establishments that do not check the certificate, will be liable to a fifth-class fine for the first offence (€1,500 fine, €3,000 in the event of a repeat offence).

(iii.) Sanctions for employers who fail to comply with their safety obligation

In the presence of a « dangerous situation« , resulting from a risk of exposure to Covid-19 due to the employer’s failure to comply with the general principles of prevention provided for in the French Labour Code, the competent administrative authority may, on the basis of a report by the labour inspector and subject to the absence of criminal proceedings, impose a fine on the employer after prior notice.

This includes situations in which the employer does not use telework although it is possible to do so, or failures to wear a mask or to arrange the work space.

The maximum fine is €500 per employee concerned, up to a maximum of €50,000.

A suspensive appeal against the decision to impose a fine may be lodged with the Minister of Labour within 15 days of notification of the decision.

(iv.) An end to the « Passe vaccinal » ?

On 16 February, the Minister of Health declared that the certificate would be « reduced in mid-March », if the situation allows.

However, no details have been provided regarding such a reduction.

It should be noted that, for the moment, the « Passe vaccinal » is scheduled to run until July 31, 2022.