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COVID-19 VACCINES

French health authority recommends Covid booster shots for over-65s

The French medical regulator has recommended offering a third injection of the Covid vaccine to over-65s from October, in new guidance published on Tuesday.

French health authority recommends Covid booster shots for over-65s
Photo: FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP.

The independent regulator Haute autorité de santé (HAS) has recommended “a booster dose for people aged 65 and over, and those at risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19, starting from the beginning of the flu vaccination campaign planned at the end of October”.

The French health authority suggested giving Covid booster shots and flu jabs at the same time “in order to avoid delays to the flu vaccination, and to simplify the vaccination process”.

On Monday evening, health minister Olivier Véran had said he hoped to begin administering booster shots in the coming weeks. “We will open up the possibility once the HAS and the President have made a decision. I say this cautiously, but we hope to begin from September,” he told BFM.

The HAS is advisory, but in this instance Véran has already indicated that the government will follow its recommendations.

The HAS recommended that the third injection come at least six months after the second dose. It added that a second dose of an mRNA vaccine “could be offered to people who received the Janssen [as Johnson & Johnson is known in France] vaccine, from four weeks after the first injection”.

“The available data does not allow us to confirm the long-term effectiveness of the one-dose Janssen vaccination against the Delta variant,” the report said.

“Recent studies suggest a reduction in the effectiveness of all vaccines, in particular against the Delta variant. This reduction in protection mainly concerns infection and symptomatic forms. We have also observed a slight drop in effectiveness against serious forms, which remain overall well covered by vaccines.

President Emmanuel Macron raised the prospect of a third jab during his televised address on July 12th, when he said the booster campaign would initially be targeted at the elderly and vulnerable who were the first French people to receive the vaccine.

“I suppose – for once I will take a risk – that they will probably tell us to give this third injection to all those aged 65 or over, who are traditionally the people called upon to get the flu vaccine,” Véran said on Monday.

Booster shots would also be offered to “those who are younger and suffering from a chronic illness which renders them vulnerable”, he added.

“The idea behind the third dose is that once you have had two doses, you’re protected, but the protection given by the vaccine can decrease over time, over the months, and so it’s necessary to offer a third injection to those who are the most fragile.”

Véran said the booster would “not be an obligation, but a strong incitement”.

The HAS concluded that “there is currently no data in favour of the systematic administering of a booster dose beyond those people targeted by the government’s announcements and [the HAS’s] guidance. However, the administering of a booster dose will probably become necessary over the course of the coming months.”

READ ALSO How can I get my Covid vaccine booster in France?

Member comments

    1. They would even protest about that because it takes away their choice to transmit it or not.

      Anyway, more important news is that Charlie Watts has “fallen off the perch”.

  1. Has any one received a reply yet to their email application to convert a vaccination certificate from outside the EU to the French Health Pass ? I applied on the 11 Aug and have yet to receive any reply

  2. I’m guessing it would take roughly the same time as converting a non-EU driving licence, so give it another year or so.

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COVID-19 VACCINES

More than 100,000 protest Macron’s plan to ‘piss off the unvaccinated’

More than 100,000 people across France protested on Saturday over what they say are government plans to further restrict the rights of the unvaccinated.

More than 100,000 protest Macron's plan to 'piss off the unvaccinated'
Demonstrators hold a banner reading " The youth piss off the vaccine front " during a protest against the health pass on Saturday. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP

The protest came only days after French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to “piss off” those refusing the jab.

The turnout was four times higher than the numbers who answered the December 18 call to protest, when 25,500 people marched across the country, according to government estimates.

The protests oppose a planned law that will require individuals to prove they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus before they can eat out, travel on inter-city trains or attend cultural events.

On Thursday, France’s lower house of parliament passed the controversial bill in a first reading. The government has said it expects the new requirements to be implemented by January 15, although lawmakers in the Senate could now delay the process.

About 18,000 protesters gathered in Paris. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP

Interior ministry officials said 105,200 people participated in Saturday’s protests across France, 18,000 of them in the capital Paris, where police reported 10 arrests and three officers slightly injured. Elsewhere there were 24 arrests and seven police officers lightly injured according to the ministry.

Among the larger demonstrations, around 6,000 demonstrators turned out in Toulon, while in Montpellier police used teargas during clashes with protesters.

READ ALSO: 

France recorded 303,669 new coronavirus cases on Saturday amid mounting pressure on hospitals.

The Paris protesters, many of them unmasked, braved the cold and rain brandishing placards emblazoned with the word “truth” and “No to vaccine passes”.

Others took aim at Macron, using the same coarse language he employed in his attack on people holding out against vaccination earlier in the week.

Macron said Friday that he fully stands by controversial remarks he made on Tuesday, when he vowed to “piss off” people not vaccinated against Covid-19 until they accept shots.

The earthy language and uncompromising approach provoked uproar in French media and from opponents.

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