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VACCINE

France opens up Covid vaccines to all adults with chronic medical conditions

France's health minister has announced another acceleration of the Covid vaccine rollout, this time to all adults who have underlying medical conditions including diabetes or hypertension.

France opens up Covid vaccines to all adults with chronic medical conditions
Health minister Olivier Véran visiting a vaccine centre. Photo: Rafael Lafargue/AFP

Following the announcement yesterday from president Emmanuel Macron that from May 1st all adults who are obese (with a BMI above 30) will be eligible for a vaccine, health minister Olivier Véran on Friday revealed that this will extend to all adults suffering from a chronic medical condition.

At present under 55s can only be vaccinated if they have a serious condition including cancer and transplant patients.

However this will be extended so that from May 1st people of any age can be vaccinated if they have a chronic condition including diabetes or hypertension.

READ ALSO How to book an appointment for a Covid vaccine

The president also added that from May 15th all over 50s – with or without health conditions – can be vaccinated, as per the original vaccinate schedule.

The French government has been under pressure to extend the vaccine programme to everyone immediately, rather than waiting until mid June to allow younger people to be vaccinated – especially after reports of unfilled appointments at vaccine centres.

Speaking to France Info on Friday morning, Véran said: “Obesity is the primary risk factor outside of age that exposes people to the most serious forms of Covid-19.

“But we are also opening up vaccination to people with co-morbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, renal or cardiac failure or cancers.”

He added that this represents around 4 million people.

The health ministry later clarified that people with an underlying illness do not need a prescription from their GP before they can book an appointment, a simple ‘declaration’ will suffice.

Among the co-mobities listed by the health ministry are;

  • Cardiac problems including hypertension and people who have had heart surgery
  • Types 1 and 2 diabetes
  • Respiratory conditions including severe asthma and sleep apnea
  • Kidney failure
  • Obesity (a BMI of over 30)
  • Kidney failure
  • Cancer
  • Chronic liver conditions including cirrhosis
  • A compromised immune system
  • Neurological conditions including cerebral palsy, motor neurone disease and Parkinson’s
  • Dementia
  • Diagnosed psychiatric conditions 

You can find the full list HERE.

Member comments

  1. Is the Johnson and Johnson vaccine available anywhere in the Vendee yet? I believe it’s only available in chemists.

  2. Hi,
    Does anyone have a link to the the declaration needed if you are under 50 and have a co-mobities?

    1. I think the declaration is made when you make the appointment online. You have to tick that you suffer from one of the co-minorities listed, to be able to reserve a slot.

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COVID-19

Return of the health pass? How France plans to tackle new wave of Covid cases

With a sharp rise in reported cases in recent weeks, France appears to be in the middle of a new wave of Covid infections - so what measures are the government taking to control it?

Return of the health pass? How France plans to tackle new wave of Covid cases

Recorded case numbers in France are now over 50,000 a week, and have been since the beginning of June – this is a long way short of the 350,000 weekly cases recorded in January but still the highest since May and representing a steady an increase of 57 percent on the previous week.

Hospital admissions are also on the rise – standing at 707 admissions on Friday, June 24th compared to 400 daily admissions just two weeks earlier.

So what is the French government doing about it?

Since March, almost all Covid-related restrictions have been lifted in France – the health pass is no longer required for everyday activities such as visiting a bar or going to the gym and face masks are now merely advised in all indoor locations. Only hospitals and other health establishments such as nursing homes still have mandatory rules on face masks and health passes.

For international travel, fully vaccinated arrivals from most countries – including the UK, US and the whole of the EU – need only to show proof of vaccination, while unvaccinated travellers need to show proof of a recent negative Covid test – full details HERE.

Health pass

A proposed bill from the health ministry that was leaked to French media talks about re-imposing some form of pass sanitaire (health pass) to get numbers under control.

Some caveats to add here is that the document is only a proposal at this stage and the government has explicitly rules out – for the moment – reintroducing the vaccine pass. The health pass can be used to show either proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test, so it is less restrictive for the unvaccinated.

The document suggests re-introducing a health pass for travel – both to and from France – not for everyday activities like going to a café.

Testing and contact tracing

The bill also proposes extending the software involved in contact tracing and the Covid testing programme until March 2023, although this is described as a ‘precaution’.

Testing remains available on a walk-in basis at most French pharmacies and by appointment at health centres and medical labs. Tests are free for fully-vaccinated residents of France who have a carte vitale. Those are only visiting France, who are not registered in the French health system or who are not vaccinated have to pay – prices are capped at €22 for an antigen test and €54 for a PCR test.

READ ALSO How tourists in France can get a Covid test

Masks

The Minister of Health, Brigitte Bourguignon, said she is “asking the French to wear masks on public transport once again” during an interview with RTL on Monday, June 27th. She also recommended wearing a mask in all other enclosed crowded areas, as a “civic gesture.” However, she did not refer to the request as a government mandated obligation.

At present masks are not required, but are recommended, especially on busy services where it is impossible to practice social distancing.

Epidemiologist Pascal Crépey said: “In crowded trains, the risk of being in the presence of infected people is high. It would be a good idea for the population to wear the mask, to protect especially the most fragile and avoid massive infection rates.”

Local measures

French local authorities also have the power to impose certain types of restrictions if their area has a particularly high rate of infections.

At present, none have done so, but Nice mayor Christian Estrosi has spoken in favour of possibly bringing back the vaccine pass over the summer.

Second booster shots

A second booster shot of the Covid vaccine is now available to all over 60s and anyone who has a long-term medical condition or who is otherwise at risk from Covid.

It is recommended that the government increase public messaging advising those in high risk groups to get the second booster shot. The medical regular HAS has advised combining second booster shots with the seasonal flu vaccine campaign in September and October.

France is not, at present, considering widening the campaign to the entire popular, but the EU’s vaccine commissioner Thierry Breton says that if necessary, there would be enough doses to cover the whole population.

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