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coronavirus crisis

French parliament passes law mandating vaccinations for health workers

With the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations on the rise, the French parliament approved a law early Monday that make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all health workers and creates a special pass for people to use showing they are vaccinated, had a recent negative COVID-19 test, or just got over the coronavirus.

This pass will be necessary in order to board planes and trains and enter restaurants and some other public places, The Associated Press reports. Only adults will need the pass for now, but beginning Sept. 30, everyone 12 and older must have one. Health care workers have to start getting vaccinated by Sept. 15, or they could be suspended from their jobs.

In France, more than 111,000 people have died of COVID-19, and President Emmanuel Macron says these new measures have to be put in place to protect the vulnerable. Lawmakers first started working on the bill six days ago, and quickly reached a compromise version that was passed by the Senate on Sunday night and National Assembly early Monday, AP reports.

On Saturday, about 160,000 protesters demonstrated against the measures, accusing the government of overreach. There are now 20,000 new coronavirus infections being reported daily, up from a few thousand a day earlier this month, and Macron spoke out against the far-right politicians pushing anti-vaccine sentiment. "What is your freedom worth if you say to me, 'I don't want to be vaccinated,' but tomorrow you infect your father, your mother, or myself?" Macron said. The protesters are "free to express themselves in a calm and respectful manner," he added, but they can't wish the virus away.