France begins administering Covid booster shots for over 65s

Appointments are now under way for people in eligible groups to get their booster shot of the Covid vaccine.

An elderly man receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Quimper, western France, on March 30, 2021. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)
Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

The third dose of the vaccine is open to over 65s and those with long-term medical conditions – but only for people who had their second dose more than six months ago.

Since this covers for the moment only people who got their vaccines in January and February this will mostly concern the over 75s or those in a high-risk group due to severe medical conditions.

Booking opened on Monday with Wednesday, September 1st marking the first appointments.

Those who are eligible can book their appointment directly – there is no need to wait for an invitation – by phone or online platforms such as Doctolib.

Appointments will be available in vaccine centres and all booster shots given will be either Pfizer or Moderna, following the recommendation of the medical regulator Haut autorité de santé (HAS).

As well as people booking appointments directly, France will also begin a third vaccination campaign for residents of Ehpad nursing homes. Prime Minister Jean Castex has said this will begin from September 13th.

Who can book their booster now?

In order to book an appointment now, you need to fulfil several criteria;

  • Be over the age of 65 or in a high risk group due to a severe medical condition
  • Have completed a full vaccination schedule. In most cases this means two doses, but it can also cover people who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or those who are severely immunocompromised who received three doses initially (under medical advice)
  • Had their second or final vaccine dose at least six months ago
  • Have not had Covid – people who contracted the virus after their first or second dose do not need a booster dose, the HAS has ruled. In France, people who had previously had Covid get just one dose of the vaccine and are counted as ‘fully vaccinated’ for travel or health passport purposes (although not all countries recognise this for travel purposes) 

Booking can be done online or by phone – full details HERE.

Does this affect the health passport?

No, the health passport counts as ‘fully vaccinated’ anyone who has had either two doses, a single dose of Johnson & Johnson or had a single dose after recovering from Covid. This will not change for people in groups eligible for a booster shot.

“Whether you go for your booster or not, you will keep the benefit of the health pass,” said health minister Olivier Véran on August 26th.

What about other groups?

For the moment the government is prioritising those in the most vulnerable groups.

Initially the booster shot was envisaged for the over 80s, but this was expanded to over 65s on the advice of the HAS – although in reality the six-month limit means that most people getting their booster shot in the weeks to come will be in older age groups.

Whether the campaign will be expanded to the general population or not is still under debate.

Member comments

  1. To book the 3rd Covid vaccination on the Doctolib site, which I always use for booking our GP appointments, I was told to provide our country of birth selected from an automatic list that started with Afghanistan and ended with Zambia. But there were only 3 European countries (none of them ours) and the site would not allow me to tap in anything else. But I got an immediate response on the 0800 00 91 10 number and a charming lady (who made my day by telling me my voice sounded much younger than 83) had us booked in no time.

  2. We used the Doctolib site to book a third as Americans with a French address. No problem. We went to the vax site and received the vaccine. No problem. No charge. Just had to show our CDC cards. We received a new QR code for our passe sanitaire. Vive La France!

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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.


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.