It had previously been the recommendation that people who had been diagnosed with Covid only needed a single dose of the double-dose vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
However, now vaccine centres in France will be equipped with the finger-prick antibody tests which can detect whether a person has ever had Covid.
These will be offered to all, so that people who have had Covid without realising it can be identified and will only need a single injection.
Dominique Le Guludec, president of the French medical regulator Haute Autorité de Santé, told RMC radio: “We propose, at the time of the first dose, the finger-prick test to see if you have antibodies to determine the need for a second dose.
“This can avoid a second dose for many people who will be delighted.”
Health minister Olivier Véran added that this could affect between 5 and 6 million people who would only need one dose.
Anyone who has had Covid cannot be vaccinated in France until three months after they recovered.
Le Geludec added: “If you have had Covid, yes you should be vaccinated… However, not immediately, we have advised three to six months after a symptomatic form of the virus.
“These patients are protected for a certain period of time. On the other hand, we also know, with the more robust data since our opinion, that one dose is enough.”
People who only need one dose of the vaccine are given a vaccination certificate marked with a second dose, so that they show up as ‘fully vaccinated’ on France’s health passport, which from next week can be used to enter concerts and sports matches as well as some types of international travel.
The health passport also allows people to upload a recent negative Covid test, or proof of having recently recovered from Covid – the accepted proof is a positive PCR or antigen test more than 15 days and less than 6 months old, and a follow-up negative test.
People who had Covid more than six months ago, or who never got a test while they were ill, cannot use the recovery option.
French president Emmanuel Macron, who caught Covid in December, has recently announced that he has now been vaccinated but, unlike many other politicians, declined to post a topless vaccine selfie.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 31, 2021