Reader question: How can people who cannot be vaccinated use France’s health passport?

Reader question: How can people who cannot be vaccinated use France's health passport?
Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP
With the health passport now compulsory for a range of everyday activities in France including visiting bars, cinemas or going on long distance train trips, what is the situation for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons?

Question: I have a serious medical problem that means I cannot be vaccinated, does that mean I have to accept having no social life in France for the foreseeable future?

The French government has been clear that one of the intentions of the health passport is to push people into getting the vaccine, and therefore life is set to get more complicated for the unvaccinated.

The general principle of the health pass is that activities like working (with the exception of certain professions) and commuting do not need a health pass, but for anything fun like getting dinner and drinks with friends, going to the theatre or cinema or getting a train to another part of France the passport is required. 

READ ALSO When, where and why you need a health passport in France

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If you are not fully vaccinated you can still use the health passport – but unless you have proof that you have recovered from Covid in the past six months, you face getting Covid tests 72 hours before you want to go to a café, restaurant, museum or tourist site.

READ ALSO How unvaccinated people can use France’s health passport

But what about those who might want to be vaccinated but cannot for medical reasons?

The Decree that enshrined the health passport into law does contain provision for those who cannot be vaccinated.

It is possible to obtain a certificate from your doctor declaring your status as unvaccinated for medical reasons – but only if you fit one of the conditions outlined in the decree.

Those who fit these criteria can obtain an attestation de contre-indication from their doctor, which can be presented instead of the health pass.

The French government information site says that the medical certificate option will ‘soon’ be included in the TousAntiCovid app, but for now will need to be shown on paper or in a digital format, but not in the app.

The conditions outlined by the decree to qualify for this are;

  • A documented history of allergy to one of the components of the vaccines
  • Anaphylaxis of at least grade 2 after the first dose injection
  • A documented history of capillary leakage problems
  • History of pediatric multi-systemic inflamatory syndrome after suffering from Covid
  • A recommendation following a multi-disciplinary medical consultation not to administer a second dose following a severe reaction to the first dose eg myrocarditis, Guillan-Barré syndrome

There are also some conditions that have a temporary medical contra-indication

  • Treatment with anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies
  • Myocarditis or pericarditis that occurred prior to vaccination and is still evolving

For people with severely compromised immune systems such as cancer patients the general advice is to get vaccinated, and they will often be given a third dose of the vaccine in order to ensure adequate protection.

Pregnant women are advised to get the vaccination, indeed the pregnant cabinet minister Olivia Gregoire was recently vaccinated live on TV by her colleague Olivier Véran in order to highlight the need for mothers-to-be to get vaccinated.

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical advice – if you are in any doubt about whether you should get vaccinated, or have concerns about side effects, you should of course consult your doctor.


Member comments

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  1. Hi — I’m in the US, traveling to Paris in early September. On Aug. 10, I emailed the signed form, passport, CDC vaccination certification, etc. to the email address provided in your article and by my hotel in Paris in order to get uploaded into the health pass system. I immediately received a computer generated response saying my email and attachments had been received, but nothing since. Anyone with anything to share on them actually getting back with the health pass QR code and all that? Thanks. Jeff

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