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MUSIC

French rock group Indochine plays Covid trial gig in Paris

Starved of live music for the past year, fans of veteran French rock band Indochine got the chance to see their idols in concert on Saturday, all in the name of Covid-19 research.

French rock group Indochine plays Covid trial gig in Paris
People raise their hands before the start of a test concert of French rock band Indochine at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris on May 29th, 2021. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

Around 5,000 concert-goers were taking part in the experimental event at Paris’s Bercy concert hall. A further 2,500 volunteers who did not attend the concert would be used as a comparison group.

The trial to assess the risk of Covid transmission at events has been eagerly awaited by the live music and entertainment sector which has been devastated by Covid-19.

“It’s been so long that we have waited for a reopening of this kind of event. So finding a concert, in addition to it being Indochine, is really great,” Camille, 26, from the Paris region, said.

Before being admitted, the concert-goers, all aged between 18 and 45 with no special risk factors, handed over an envelope containing a saliva test done earlier on Saturday.

Each person was also required to have had a negative antigen test in the last three days.

Once inside, no social distancing was required but masks were compulsory.

READ ALSO: Eight French-language musicians you need to hear

Due to the 9pm curfew still in place in France, the concert started earlier than normal with Indochine on stage by 6 pm.

Similar trials have already taken place elsewhere in Europe and the Bercy concert had been postponed a number of times.

It was finally being held two days ahead of the opening up of France’s vaccination programme to all adults.

Results from the concert-goers’ study are expected by late June.

The study was organised by the AP-HP (Assistance publique-Hopitaux de Paris), the Paris-based university hospital trust, and Prodiss, the national union for musical and variety shows, with support from the government.

Previous experimental events in Spain and Britain have not shown any increased risk of transmission.

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HEALTH

Reader Question: Can I get a third Covid booster shot in France?

As France launches its autumn vaccine campaign, almost half of those eligible for the second booster jab in France have already received it. This has left some wondering whether they could qualify for a third booster, using the new dual-strain vaccines.

Reader Question: Can I get a third Covid booster shot in France?

Question: I’m in my 70s and I had my second booster back in the summer but now I see that the new dual-strain vaccines are available – should I be getting an extra booster with the new type of vaccine?

French health authorities launched the autumn booster campaign on October 3rd includes newly authorised dual-strain vaccines – such as 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 – which are designed to combat the Omicron variant.

It will be followed by the seasonal flu vaccination campaign in mid October.

READ MORE: When, where and how to get flu shots and Covid boosters this autumn in France

In France, about 6.3 million people have received a second booster dose, “or 41 percent of the eligible population,” said the Directorate General of Health (DGS) to Ouest France.

Currently only those in high risk groups are eligible for a second booster shot, including pregnant women, the elderly those with medical conditions or carers – find the full list here.

As almost half of the eligible population have already received a fourth vaccine, many are wondering whether they will be eligible for a fifth (or third booster) in order to access the new dual-strain vaccine.  

According to Virginie, a representative from HAS – France’s health authority – the organisation “no longer thinks in terms of doses for high-risk people and immunocompromised patients.”

Specifically, the HAS recommends that a new injection be given – and if possible one of the dual-strain vaccines – “regardless of the number of injections received up to now”.

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

However, French health authorities specified that the additional booster should “respect the minimum recommended time between two doses.”

“This depends based on your profile – for people aged 80 and over, residents of nursing homes or long-term care units (USLD) and those who are immunocompromised, the wait-time is three months between jabs. For the others, the delay is set at six months.”

For those who have already been infected by Covid-19, the HAS recommends that if you are eligible for a second (or third booster) that the additional dose “is still recommended, with a minimum delay of three months after infection.”

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