Reader question: Can I travel to France from Canada if I had a mixed-dose Covid vaccine?

Reader question: Can I travel to France from Canada if I had a mixed-dose Covid vaccine?
Photo: Cole Burston/AFP
Travel rules are different depending on whether you are vaccinated or not, but definitions of 'fully vaccinated' can be more complicated than it first appears.

Question: I’m Canadian and I’ve my two vaccine doses. I had Pfizer for the first and Moderna for the second – as is quite common in Canada – but I read that the French won’t accept this as being ‘fully vaccinated’ for travel purposes, is that right?

France’s travel rules differ depending on whether you are vaccinated or not, with only essential travel allowed for non-vaccinated travellers from countries on the orange list (like the UK).

Canada is on France’s green list, so anyone can travel, but if you’re not vaccinated you will need to show a negative Covid test before boarding a flight.

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Once in France, you will need to show the health passport to access venues such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, tourist sites and long-distance train or bus travel – more info here.

So what does France say about mixed dose vaccines?

Having a mixture of AstraZeneca and either Pfizer or Moderna is common in France, since the country’s medical regulator changed its guidance on AstraZeneca usage in March and now recommends it only for the over 55s. Those under 55 who had already had a first injection of AstraZeneca before the guidance changed were offered either Pfizer or Moderna for their second dose, so many people have mixed dose vaccines including the country’s health minister Olivier Véran.

However, mixing Pfizer and Moderna is not common in France.

We asked the Health ministry whether this means that travellers vaccinated in this way are not considered fully vaccinated.

They replied: “France does indeed recognise vaccine regimens comprising one dose of AstraZeneca and one dose of an mRNA vaccine [such as Pfizer and Moderna] 

“Concerning the regimens comprising one dose of Pfizer and one of Moderna, the Haut Autorité de Santé has allowed this as a possibility in case of serious pressure on supplies, while expressing reservations as to their perfect interchangeability given the little data we have to date on this subject. Clinical trials were launched in June by the Paris hospitals group AP-HP.

“Nevertheless, this vaccine scheme is recognised as a ‘complete vaccination’ at the border.”

Therefore Canadian travellers who had this combination are recognised as vaccinated by French authorities.

They are not considered vaccinated by the UK government, however, which refuses to recognise any mixed dose vaccinations, so Canadians considering a trip to the UK should probably come to France instead (the pastries are better too).

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