EXPLAINED: How visitors to France can get a French health pass at pharmacies

The Local France
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EXPLAINED: How visitors to France can get a French health pass at pharmacies
Customers are served by a pharmacist from behind newly installed see through protective screens (Hygiaphone) in the French Riviera city of Nice, southern France, on May 2, 2020, on the 47th day of a lockdown across France aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the novel coronavirus. (Photo by VALERY HACHE / AFP)

Officially anyway, tourists in France can exchange their vaccination certificates for a French health pass at certain pharmacies, but many have struggled to do it. Here's how to go about it according to someone who has managed it.


Getting a medical professional to exchange your vaccination certificate for a French one is currently the only way people vaccinated in the United States, Canada and many other non-EU countries are able to access the French health pass without taking a Covid test every two days, or without proof they have already had the virus.

But The Local reported yesterday that people vaccinated in the US had been having trouble finding a pharmacy willing or able to do this, with some readers visiting up to ten pharmacies to no avail.

Readers from the UK also reported difficulties convincing venue staff to accept their NHS certificates, so getting a French health pass and QR code at a pharmacy could be a safer option for Brits who have the possibility.

READ ALSO ‘I’ve been to 8 pharmacies’: Visitors to France report struggles with Covid health passes


Journalist John Walton, who lives in the Loire in central France, tweeted a step-by-step guide on Tuesday to how he was able to help his British partner to obtain a French certificate.



Walton suggested larger pharmacies would be more likely to have access to the necessary computer system, something other readers have also reported. Walton recommended finding a pharmacy listed as a vaccination centre on the Vite Ma Dose platform, as well as bringing a bilingual friend to help explain the process to the pharmacists.




Walton began by explaining the different information you will need to provide, including an email address and a French address and phone number. Some of our American readers have told us pharmacies accepted their Airbnb or hotel address.


READ ALSO Can tourists use France’s health passport to access museums, cafés and trains?


Next, the pharmacist will have to enter the details of your jab (vaccine type and batch number), and Walton warned readers that the "autre lot" option must be selected in order to enter a foreign batch number.


Next, Walton explained, you will need to enter the place where you were vaccinated (using the post code 99 to find foreign locations), and your date of vaccination.




In theory, people vaccinated in the UK should not need to go through this process, but not all of those working in venues requiring the health pass are aware that NHS certificates and the NHS app are valid in France.

It is now possible to upload an NHS vaccine certificate to the French health pass app. However, the QR codes generated are not currently compatible with the TousAntiCovid Verif app used by venues to check health passes.

Meanwhile, with no official instructions from the French government, the American Embassy in Paris stated on July 21st: "At this time, the Embassy is not aware of the extent to which it is still possible to have the U.S. information entered into the French system."

The French health pass, available on paper or through the TousAntiCovid app, is currently required for culture and leisure venues of more than 50 people, including cinemas, museums and other tourist sites. From August 9th, it is set to be extended to bars, cafés, restaurants, and long-distance train and bus travel.




Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
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stacyreeves 2021/08/11 10:01
I was able to get my US CDC card changed into a QR code in Paris at Pharmacie Place de l’Opera, 1 rue Auber. I have sent many friends there as well and they have all had no issues. It is 20€ though. Some pharmacies are doing it for free or cheaper, but if you are desperate that’s a sure bet. You only need your CDC card, and you can bring someone else’s card and get the QR code for them (a friend with me got hers and her husband’s at the same time even though he wasn’t there).
kenneth.r.jones 2021/08/09 19:01
@kwendell78 - that is the hospital near Notre Dame, right? If so, where do you go inside the building? is there a specific department? Is there a specific entrance? Do I need to make an appointment? Please advise, thanks. Ken
antoniadem 2021/08/07 21:43
I'm in Bayonne, in the Basque Country. I worked with the Pharmacie de la Nive in downtown Bayonne to convert my U.S. vaccination card into the French "pass sanitaire". The instructions above were invaluable (thank you!). If you're anywhere near here, they should be able to help you as they're quite friendly. Two details: make sure they know that Americans write MM/DD/YYYY rather than DD/MM/YYYY as the French do. Also, we had to leave the code of the vaccination center *blank* to get it to work. Good luck!
crawflk 2021/08/06 16:06
Has anyone had any luck in Rennes? We are Canadian and went directly to the covid vaccine centre to see whether they could help. Absolutely no help there, they told us to call the Canadian embassy, which by the way doesn’t accept phone calls, only emails. We have emailed with no response. Any direction would be helpful!
  • kippykeast 2021/08/07 16:56
    I have emailed the CDN Consulate to suggest that they contact (on our behalf) the French officials to suggest that they open some type of booth at CDG to transcribe our CDN Vax Certificates into the QR pass.....right as we get off the plane. They said: "Unfortunately, the govt of CDA cannot interfere in French affairs. That being said, we work very closely with the French authorities on this matter." UNBELIEVABLE! "Can't interfere", yet ,"work very closely"!! All I did was make a SUGGESTION, yet they won't work with us!! Our wonderful tax dollars at work..... Cathy Poole
gmofield2000 2021/08/04 22:42
Agreed, it’s just a matter of finding someone who knows how to do it and is willing to do it. I was lucky. It only took 10 min to get mine
eparker 2021/08/04 22:36
Americans should note that in France the date is written day/month/year. My American card says my first jab was 1/14/21, January 14, but the pharmacist in France will enter that as 14/1/21.
  • kippykeast 2021/08/07 16:57
    I've always said that governments worldwide get on board to end this confusion once and for all! It's especially confusing in N. American hospitals....where both are often used interchangeably.
eparker 2021/08/04 21:58
Thank you to John Walton for that helpful information! I’m going to type up our information for each step so I can hand it to the pharmacist with our vaccination cards. Has anyone used the tent setup at the Hôtel de Ville? Our apartment will be near there. Elaine Parker, [email protected]
  • kwendell78 2021/08/06 22:32
    Hotel Dieu will do it for free. It took about an hour for about 15 people to go thru.
edwinavon 2021/08/04 17:59
I am in Nice. There’s a woman at the Pharmacie de la Cathédrale in the old city who knows exactly what to do. Handed her my US card and had the pass 10 minutes later!

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