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CRIME

France proposes €1,000 fine for using fake vaccine pass

As part of its plan to convert the health pass into a vaccine pass, the French government is also proposing stiff new penalties for those caught with a fake pass.

France proposes €1,000 fine for using fake vaccine pass
A security guard checks health passes in France. Photo: Pascal Pochard Casablanca/AFP

In his press conference on Monday evening, French prime minister Jean Castex strongly condemned those who use false health passes, describing it as a “deliberate act to endanger others”.

Forgery networks

The health pass has been required to access certain venues in France since August, and for almost as long there has been a problem with people using false passes.

In some cases fake health passes are created, while in others medics have been caught selling fake vaccination certificates in order to create a real – but fraudulent – pass.

Some people take the less complicated option of simply using someone else’s pass to access a bar, café or leisure venue.

Unlike in some countries, ID checks are not routinely performed when the health pass is checked.

This is because French law says that only an ‘agent of the state’ can request to see a person’s ID. This covers railway staff and spot checks by police officers, but does not allow for waiters or cinema staff to ask to see a person’s ID when they are checking the health pass.

New rules

The health pass in France is set to undergo a change in January. Subject to approval in the French parliament, it will become a vaccine pass – meaning that unvaccinated people can no longer use a negative Covid test to enter health pass venues. Only proof of fully vaccinated status will be accepted.

READ ALSO What changes when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass?

Anticipating an increase in demand for fake passes among the hardcore of vaccine-refuseniks, the bill on vaccine passes also contains a proposal for harsher sentences.

The fine for using a fake pass will rise from €135 to €1,000 for a first offence. 

Lending your health pass to someone else to use is punishable by a €750 fine.

Cafés, bars and other health pass venues who are caught not checking passes will be subject to an immediate €1,000 fine, with the option of closures for repeated offences and fines rising to €45,000.

There are already stiff penalties in force for people who produce fake passes, and at present there is no proposal to change these.

Creating a fake health pass is punishable by fines of up to €75,000 and five years in jail.

Issuing a fake document (eg a negative Covid test or vaccination certificate) that can be used to produce a health pass is also punishable by fines of up to €75,000 and five years in jail.

Fraudulently introducing data into an automated processing system (e.g. recording people as vaccinated when they are not) is punishable by fines of up to €150,000 and five years in jail.

Since the summer there have been several arrests of people involved with creating fake vaccine certificates or health passes, including in some cases health professionals selling certificates to the unvaccinated.

Member comments

  1. That’s all very well but what they need to crack down on is venues allowing people in without passes. There are numerous restaurants and bars that allow people in with no checks imposed. I know for a fact that a lot of these are known to the police but they take no action to enforce the rules. Therefore it makes a mockery of the vaccination pass!

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POLITICS

‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.

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