A vaccine goes better than a mandatory prescription, according to a spokesperson for the French government

PARIS, Jan.9 (Reuters) – A mandatory prescription would not be the most effective way to encourage people unvaccinated against COVID-19 to get vaccinated and plans to tighten conditions on health passes were already bearing fruit, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.

The French must already present either proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter restaurants and bars and use interregional trains. But with Omicron infections soaring, Parliament is debating legislation that will abandon the option of testing.

President Emmanuel Macron said this week that he wanted to irritate the unvaccinated by making life so difficult for them that they would be vaccinated against COVID-19. Read more

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Four in ten unvaccinated people had not been vaccinated against the coronavirus due to difficulties in accessing the health services concerned, the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) said this week.

“We stand by the decision to put pressure on the unvaccinated,” Attal told BFM TV on Sunday.

France recorded more than 300,000 new coronavirus infections for the second time in a week on Friday. Hospitalizations, including COVID-19 patients in intensive care (ICU), are steadily increasing, straining the healthcare system.

Attal said nearly 10 million COVID-19 tests were performed last week and the government would make more health workers available to perform them. But the labs have warned the testing rate could be unsustainable.

“We cannot continue to test (these figures),” Lionel Barrand, president of the National Union of Medical Biologists, told BFM TV.

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Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Louise Heavens

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