How young people in France can get grants to go on summer holidays

Travel across France will officially be allowed from May 3rd, presenting the opportunity to recharge after a year of lockdowns and confinement measures. Here's how 18-25-year-olds can get financial support to take a vacation.

How young people in France can get grants to go on summer holidays
Fancy a week surfing in Biarritz, on the west coast of France? Photo: IROZ GAIZKA / AFP

However, due to work, health, studies or financial constraints, not all French residents can take a summer holiday, which – especially this year – can take a particular toll on young people. France’s National Agency for Holiday Vouchers (ANCV) is changing that.

Départ 18:25 (Departure 18:25) was launched by ANCV in 2014 to help those from 18-25 years old take summer vacation, providing vouchers that cover up to 75 percent of reservation costs (capped at €200).

Beneficiaries can choose between 10,000 destinations spread across France and internationally, with reservations made through the Les Stations sites offering sun, mountains and city-themed trips. The site allows visitors to test their eligibility and simulate the total cost of trips taking the ANVC voucher into account.  

According to Ouest-France, at least 3,800 participants took vacation across France and abroad last year through the Départ 18:25 scheme.

Dominique Ktorza, Director of Social Policies at ANCV, said that they will be working with the National Center of Universities and Schools to spread the word, and plan to reach two million scholarship students through email about the program.  

The scheme is open to French residents aged 18-25 making a net salary of less than €17,280 per year, as declared on tax forms.

However, it’s also open to students working on apprenticeships, civic service volunteers, those benefiting from special aid contracts (often given to handicapped people, for example), “second-chance” schools that offer another shot to those that had difficulties in school, beneficiaries of the Youth Guarantee initiative and those receiving social aid within their families. 

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Reader Question: When will the new dual-strain Covid vaccines be available in France?

The next generation of Covid vaccines have been designed to combat both the original strain of the virus that kicked off the pandemic in 2020, and later Omicron variants that are currently dominant around much of the world.

Reader Question: When will the new dual-strain Covid vaccines be available in France?

Reader question: I see the UK and the US have approved a new ‘dual-strain’ Covid vaccine – when will these be available in France?

Currently, the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants account for more than 95 percent of the confirmed cases in France, although experts are – as ever – cautious about the possibility of new variants emerging in the months to come.

Two so-called “bivalent” vaccines – one made by Pfizer and the other Moderna – that target both the original and omicron variants have been developed.

The UK has approved the dual-strain Moderna vaccine, and ministers have said that it will form part of the country’s autumn booster campaign, while the US has approved Pfizer’s dual-strain vaccine.

France is part of the EU’s vaccine procurement programme and so far in the pandemic has waited for new vaccines to be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) before using them in France.

The EMA has approved three new dual strain vaccines – on September 8th it approved two Omicron adapted Covid-19 booster vaccines, made by Pfizer and Moderna, both of which target the BA.1 strain of the virus and on September 13th it approved Pfizer’s BA.4/BA.5 strain vaccine.

France’s national authority for health, the HAS (Haute autorité de santé) published a press release on September 20th saying that they have authorised “Pfizer and Moderna vaccines adapted to Omicron BA.1 and BA.5.”

Specifically, this concerns the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to BA.1, the Moderna vaccine adapted to BA.1, and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to BA.4/5.

The Moderna vaccine adapted to BA.4/5 “could be authorized by the end of September.”

The statement said authorised vaccines can be used “indiscriminately” for at-risk people once the vaccines become available in France “within the coming weeks.” 

Prior to authorising these vaccines, the HAS had announced in early September that the dual-strain vaccines already authorised by the EMA will be available in France “in October” and “will certainly have a place in the vaccination strategy”.

It is planned to combine an autumn vaccine booster programme with the seasonal flu vaccine campaign, which begins October 18th. Full details on that here – Explained: France’s plan for autumn flu and Covid vaccine campaigns

Still under review by EMA is the “bivalent recombinant protein vaccine” which was developed by Spanish lab Hipra and reportedly confers protection against the BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron. It is intended as a booster dose for people aged 16 or over.

The European Commission announced in early August that it had signed a contract to acquire up to 250 million doses of this vaccine, once it is approved.

The autumn booster shot campaign has not yet begun and currently a second booster – a fourth dose for most people – of the Covid-19 vaccine is only available for certain groups of people.

In order to qualify, you must have received your first booster shot more than six months ago and be either:

  • Aged 60 or over
  • Aged 18-59 with a serious medical condition such as cancer patients, dialysis patients or transplant patients that puts you at high risk of developing the most serious forms of the virus
  • Aged 18-59 with a condition that puts you at higher risk of developing more serious forms of the virus. 
  • A pregnant woman
  • Either living with or in regular close contact with a person at high risk from the virus 

READ ALSO EXPLAINED: Who qualifies for a second Covid vaccine booster in France?

So far in France, 32.5 percent of eligible 60-79 year olds have received a second booster dose, and 45.2 percent of those aged 80 and over, while 75.3 percent of those over 18 have received three doses of the vaccine. 

In August experts from the World Health Organisation recommended that those most at risk of the Covid-19 virus be offered a second booster dose.