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    France starts enforcing vaccine passes

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    Jan. 24 (UPI) — France started enforcing its vaccine pass Monday, requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter many venues, restaurants, and transportation facilities.

    The vaccine pass replaces the health pass, which required residents and tourists to show proof of vaccination or recent negative coronavirus tests. Now, the negative tests will no longer be good enough to enter bars, cafes, theaters, museums, large events and scores of other facilities.

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    Everyone aged 16 and older must have a vaccine pass. Children aged 12-15 will be allowed to use the health passes, showing a negative COVID-19 test that was no more than 24 hours old.

    “To allow non-European Union nationals visiting France to use their vaccination to access events and places where the vaccine pass is mandatory, it is possible to ask pharmacists to issue a vaccine equivalency pass,” according to a message on a French government website.

    Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, France’s minister for tourism and small businesses, said the vaccine pass was a “game-changer” that will allow many French citizens to resume normal activities again.

    “Last summer, the health pass is what allowed us to face the (virus) wave and keep open a certain number of businesses,” Lemoyne said, according to Euronews.com. “Well, here it is the same.”

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