Leaders from both countries see the cards (called the "Green Pass" for Italy and the "health Pass" for France) as essential to increase vaccination rates and convince the undecided.
Mario Draghi, the Italian Premier, compared anti-vaccination messages from political leaders to an "apology to die."
The urgent need is being met, as vaccination requests are booming in both countries.
There are still pockets of resistance from those who view it as a violation or concern about vaccine safety. About 80,000 people protested in cities across Italy last weekend, while thousands have marched in Paris for the past three weekends, at times clashing with police. More than 200,000 marched across France on Saturday, 14,000 of them in Paris, in the biggest show yet.
European nations in general have made strides in their vaccination rates in recent months, with or without incentives. No country has made the shots mandatory, and campaigns to persuade the undecided are a patchwork.
Denmark was the first country to develop vaccine passes that were resistant to any resistance. Belgium will need a vaccination certificate in order to participate in outdoor events with over 1,500 participants by August and indoor events by September. Britain and Germany have so far refused to adopt a blanket approach. However, vaccinations are so well-received in Spain that they are not considered necessary.
France and Italy are witnessing the emergence of unlikely allies in demonstrations against vaccine restrictions or vaccination passes. These include far-right parties and campaigners for economic justice as well as families with small children.
Many believe that vaccine pass requirements create inequality and further divide society. They draw uncomfortable historical parallels.
One protester in Verona said that "we are creating great inequality between citizens." Simone, who said he was afraid for his livelihood, said Simone. "We will have first-class citizens who can access public services such as the theatre, social life and public services. Second-class citizens who are unable to do so will be second-class. This has resulted in apartheid, and the Holocaust.
Protesters in France and Italy have worn yellow Stars of David like the Nazis required Jews during World War II.
Holocaust survivors consider the comparison a distortion in history.
Liliana Segre (90), a Holocaust survivor who is now a senator for life in Italy, said that "they are madness, gestures of poor taste that intersect and ignorance." It is a time of ignorance and violence that cannot be repressed anymore, which has made it ripe for these distortions.
Similar comparisons made during protests in Britain were widely condemned. Piers Corbyn (brother of former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn) was arrested earlier in the year for distributing a leaflet that made the comparison and depicted the Auschwitz concentration camps.
For museums, cinemas, tourist sites and restaurants, the French health card is required. It goes into effect on Aug. 9 for trains and restaurants. You must have proof of COVID-19 recovery or a negative test and be fully vaccinated.
Italy's requirements for vaccination are more relaxed. Only one dose of vaccine is required. It applies to outdoor dining, stadiums and museums, as well as other gathering places, starting in August 6. The possibility of extending the requirement to long distance transport is being investigated. Access is granted if the negative test results within 48 hours are received or if the patient can prove that they have recovered from the virus in six months.
According to the country's special commission for vaccinations, the Green Pass announcement led to an increase in vaccine demand in Italy of up 200% in certain regions.
Nearly 5 million French got their first dose, and 6 million received a second dose within the span of two weeks following President Emmanuel Macron's announcement that the virus would soon be available in restaurants and other public places. Prior to that, vaccine demand was declining for several weeks.
According to SWG's survey, 15% of Italians are still opposed to the vaccine message. 7% identified themselves as undecided and 8% as antivaccine. The margin of error for the 800 adult survey, which was conducted between July 21 and 23, has been +/- 3.5 percentage points.
More than half of respondents cited fears of side effects or concerns about vaccine safety as the main reasons they resisted getting vaccinated. Another 25% of respondents said they don’t trust doctors. 12% said they don’t fear the virus and 8% denied it exists.
Some segments are difficult to penetrate.
Despite being granted precedence in spring, approximately 2 million Italians aged 60 and over are still unvaccinated. Lombardy, which is the epicenter for Italy's outbreak, still has thousands of unvaccinated people.
Every day, mobile vans carrying vaccines and other supplies are sent by Milan to different neighborhoods. They distribute flyers and post social media messages to reach the uninitiated, vaccinating between 100-150 people per day with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Rosi De Filippis (68) received the shot after being pressured by a daughter.
De Filippis stated that "In all cases, it became sort-of mandatory." "In the beginning we didn't have all we know today. "So I decided to continue with it."
France and Italy are accepting the passes reluctantly, amid concerns about how private companies will enforce public policy. The experience of Denmark suggests that compliance is easier when there are more vaccinations.
Sune Helmgaard, who owns a Copenhagen restaurant that serves classic Danish food, recalls that "the first couple of months were not good." The spring vaccination rates were still low, and customers could not always be tested on time.
Helmgaard's business has returned to pre-pandemic levels, with over 80% of eligible Danes receiving at least one shot and 60% being fully vaccinated.
He said that people feel safer, so Danes are happy to share their passes.