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Reader question: Which Covid vaccines will France accept for tourists this summer?

As France plans to welcome back tourists this summer, some worry their Covid vaccination type won't be accepted at the border.

Reader question: Which Covid vaccines will France accept for tourists this summer?
Tourists may soon visit Paris again. Photo: ALAIN JOCARD / AFP

Question: I was thrilled to hear that France is welcoming back vaccinated Americans this summer, but will I be able to enter with the Moderna vaccine? 

France plans to lift travel limits on non-EU countries on June 9th, provided the health situation remains stable enough for the country to continue with its gradual reopening.

Meanwhile people can travel for any reason – including tourism, family visits and visits from second-home owners – from within the EU and Schengen zone and seven non-EU countries, including the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

French President Emmanuel Macron set the date as he announced the plan to phase out Covid restrictions in the country, specifically saying he wanted to welcome Americans back to France this summer.

This is in line with the EU’s policy, although EU leaders have yet to set an exact date.

International travel over the summer will however require valid health pass, a digital document that contains a vaccination certificate or a recent negative Covid test result.

How exactly this will work remains somewhat unclear. France is working on its own version of a health passpass sanitaire – as well as with the EU, and the goal that each country’s pass will be scannable and valid by authorities abroad.

READ ALSO How do I get a ‘health passport’ for travel to and from France?

But which vaccines will be accepted on the border?

“All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all (Americans) who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by the European Medicines Agency,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said back in April.

The EMA has so far cleared four vaccines, all of which are in use in France: Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson (which is known as Janssen in France) and AstraZeneca.

It is currently reviewing the Chinese vaccine Sinovac, which may be approved for use if it stands up to the regulator’s requirements, but at present has not begun the formal process for the Russian Sputnik vaccine.

France is working on a new traffic light system that will determine the travel limits in place for tourists coming in from different countries. Due to a mounting fear of new Covid variants, France already placed several countries on a ‘red’ list obliging travellers to comply with strict rules including a compulsory police-enforced quarantine period

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COVID-19

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

In France, masks will no longer be required on indoor transport as of Monday, May 16th. Here are rules and recommendations that are still in place:

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

Members of the public in France have been asked to wear face masks for the most part of two years, at times even outside in the street.

Since March 14th, 2022, the facial coverings have no longer been mandatory in most establishments such as shops, and as of Monday, May 16th, it will no longer be mandatory on indoor public transport. 

As of May 16th, you will therefore no longer be required to wear a mask in the following transports:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Subways and streetcars
  • RER and TER
  • TGV and interregional lines
  • Taxis

Regarding airplanes whether or not you must wear a mask is a bit more complicated.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that from May 16th onward it would no longer be required to wear a mask in airports and on board aircraft in the European Union. However, Germany has stated that it does not have the intention of lifting its requirement of wearing a mask on its airlines – this would include the Lufthansa airline. Thus, it will be necessary for passengers to still very to rules each airline has in place, which could be the case when travelling to a country that still has indoor mask requirements in place.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky specified that vulnerable people should continue to wear masks, and that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure those seated nearby.”

Masks still obligatory in medical settings

However, it will still be mandatory for caregivers, patients and visitors in health care facilities, specifically including hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, retirement homes, and establishments for the disabled. 

For people who are vulnerable either due to their age or their status as immunocompromised, wearing a mask will continue to be recommended, though not required, particularly for enclosed spaces and in large gatherings.

Masks are also still recommended for people who test positive, people who might have come in contact with Covid-19, symptomatic people and healthcare professionals.

Will masks come back?

It is possible. French Health Minister Olivier Véran does not exclude the return of mandatory mask-wearing, should the health situation require it.

What are the other Covid-19 restrictions that remain in place?

The primary restriction that has not changed is the French government’s regulation for testing positive: If you are unvaccinated and test positive, isolation is still required for 10 days, if you are vaccinated, this requirement is seven days. Isolation can be reduced from 10 to 7 days or from 7 to 5 days if a negative covid test is performed, and symptoms are no longer present.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

The French Health Ministry still recommends following sanitary measures such as: wearing a mask in places where it is still mandatory, hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and using a single-use handkerchief (tissue).

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