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HEALTH

What you need to know about Covid vaccines for under 18s in France

France has opened up its Covid vaccination programme to under 18s, so here's what kids (and their parents) need to know about getting their appointment.

What you need to know about Covid vaccines for under 18s in France
Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

The Covid vaccination programme opened up on Tuesday, June 15th to youngsters aged between 12 and 18.

It’s voluntary

Some 11 vaccinations are compulsory for children to register in school in France, but the Covid vaccine will remain a matter of personal, and parental, choice.

No invitations

As with other stages of the vaccination programme, there is no need to wait for an invitation to be vaccinated. Teenagers or their parents can make an appointment, vaccinations of under 18s are done at vaccine centres only, not pharmacists.

Booking is via the same methods as the adult vaccine.

READ ALSO How to book a Covid appointment in France

But an attestation

Under 18s do, however, need an attestation showing they have parental consent to get the vaccine. The attestation is available via your Ameli account or click here. Under 18s cannot be vaccinated without the attestation, other than in exceptional circumstances.

It is ‘a recommendation and not an obligation’ that parents be present at the appointment, says the health ministry. The consent of the person under 18 themselves is not required in writing, but is collected orally during the appointment and the patient will receive clear, age-appropriate guidance.

And a health app

Once fully vaccinated with both doses, youngsters will be able to use their vaccination certificate on the health passport to access larger events like gigs, festivals and sports matches or – from July 1st – travel within the EU and Schengen zone.

From September 30th, the French health pass will be extended to children aged 12-17, meaning teenagers will need to be vaccinated, take a Covid test, or have recovered from Covid in order to access cafés, restaurants, cinemas and other venues.

Government sources have told Le Parisien newspaper that the health pass obligation will only apply from 12 years and 2 months, in order to give children time to get vaccinated after their twelfth birthday. In France, you must wait at least three weeks between doses, and you are considered fully vaccinated one week after your final dose.

READ ALSO How does France’s health passport work?

Pfizer

Pfizer BioNTech is the only vaccine that has been approved in France for use on under 16s, so all teenagers in France will  for the moment be receiving Pfizer, which already makes up the vast bulk of doses administered in the French programme.

Moderna has applied to the European Medicines Agency for authorisation for use on under 16s, if this is granted, the French health regulator will also need to give its approval before Moderna can be used for under 18s in France. The AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not authorised for under 55s in France, so will not form part of the children’s vaccination programme.

Free

Just as for adults, the Covid vaccine is free for under 18s and – as with adults – children who are not registered in the French health system can get the vaccine if they are resident in France.

READ ALSO What to expect at your vaccine appointment

Why?

In general, children are much less likely to develop the most severe forms of Covid – although there have been rare cases of deaths – and frequently have no symptoms at all.

But French health authorities say it is still important that they be vaccinated and they can spread the illness.

Speaking on TF1, health minister Olivier Véran said that opening up the vaccine programme to under 18s would “accelerate the movement towards collective immunity”.

The other consideration is educational. Although France has had one of the lowest number of school closure days in Europe, education has still been disrupted by the pandemic and a protocol is in place for schools to close classes if there is an outbreak of infection.

Véran hopes that a successful vaccination programme of youngsters over the summer will “avoid having to close “too many classes in high schools or colleges at the beginning of the school year”.

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LIVING IN FRANCE

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer

Strikes

But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.

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