Drivers, shop staff, cleaners – France lists 20 priority jobs for Covid vaccines

France has created a list of 20 professions which will be prioritised for a Covid vaccine, in addition to the healthworkers, teachers, police and emergency staff who are already eligible, from Saturday.

Drivers, shop staff, cleaners - France lists 20 priority jobs for Covid vaccines
For people in eligible groups, finding appointments is not always easy. Photo: Nicolas Tucat/AFP

At present, everyone over the age of 55 is eligible for a Covid vaccine in France, although in many areas it’s still not easy to get an appointment even if you are eligible.

The government is therefore creating ‘priority slots’ for certain professions – in the same way as teachers, childcare workers and police officers are already given priority slots at vaccine centres.

Healthworkers and domestic workers who work with vulnerable groups are vaccinated through their workplace.

The next stage will be opening up the vaccine to all under 55s, envisaged for mid June although there is no definite date yet.

READ ALSO When will I be eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine? 

Over 55s in the listed professions – thought to be around 400,000 people – will be eligible for priority slots from Saturday, April 24th, the labour ministry announced on Tuesday. The priority slots will be available at vaccine centres only, with a list of participating centres due to the finalised shortly.

People in one of the priority professions will have to provide a payslip as proof of employment, or make a déclaration sur l’honneur (a sworn statement) that they are in an eligible group.

READ ALSO: What does it mean in France when you ‘declare on your honour’?

The full list of professions published by the Labour Ministry is;

  • Lorry drivers
  • Bus drivers
  • Taxi or VTC (eg Uber) drivers
  • Public transport inspectors or ticket sellers
  • Refuse collectors
  • Street cleaners
  • Employees at recycling/waste sorting centres
  • Cleaners
  • Supermarket cashiers
  • Self-service employees in the food industry
  • Butchers
  • Bakers
  • Pâtissiers
  • Employees working in the food industry 
  • Company managers working in the food industry
  • Funeral directors
  • Abattoir workers 
  • Employees at food processing factories 
  • Security guards
  • Building managers or gardiennes

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French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The French parliament has passed the controversial health bill which updates France's emergency provisions for Covid - and allows the return of negative Covid tests for all travellers at the border, if the health situation requires.

French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The Loi sanitaire was eventually approved by the Assemblée nationale on Monday after several variations and amendments added on its passage through the Assemblée and the Senate. It was voted on and passed Tuesday, May 26th. 

The bill replaces the State of Health Emergency that has been in place since March 2020 and puts in place provision for government actions should the health situation deteriorate or a dangerous new variant of Covid emerge.

The original text had a provision for the return of the health pass at the border, but this has now been scrapped and instead the government has the right to make a negative Covid test a condition of entry for all travellers.

At present negative tests are required only for unvaccinated travellers, and the new test requirement would only be put into force if a dangerous new variant emerges.

The government will be able to implement the testing rule by decree for two months, but a further parliamentary debate would be required to extend it beyond that.

From August 1st the State of Health Emergency will be formally repealed, which means that the government no longer has the power to introduce major limits on personal freedom such as lockdowns or curfews without first having a debate in parliament.

The bill also allows for an extension of data collection required for the SI-DEP epidemic monitoring tools such as the contact tracing app Tous Anti Covid until June 30th, 2023 and Contact Covid until January 31st, 2023. 

The most controversial measure in the bill was the reinstatement of healthcare workers who were suspended for being unvaccinated – this actually only involves a couple of hundred people but medical unions and the medical regulator Haut Autorité de Santé (HAS) have both been against it.

However the bill allows for the eventual lifting of the requirement for Covid vaccination for healthcare workers, when the HAS judges it is no longer necessary and once the requirement is lifted, the suspended healthcare workers will be reinstated “immediately”.

The bill was approved on Monday evening with 184 votes to 149, the result of a joint committee that was able to harmonise the versions of the Assembly and the Senate.

The final vote passed the Senate on Tuesday.