France to start charging for Covid tests as 88% of eligible population have now had vaccine

"We are not at the end of the road," French Prime Minister Jean Castex warned as he announced encouraging new vaccination figures on Wednesday.

France to start charging for Covid tests as 88% of eligible population have now had vaccine
French Prime Minister Jean Castex delivered a speech following government seminar, on September 8th. Photo: Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP.

France has now given at least one dose of a Covid vaccine to 88 percent of people who are eligible – anyone aged 12 and over – Castex announced during a press conference following the government’s back-to-work meeting at the Elysée

“The pandemic is not yet behind us,” he warned. “Variants in particular mean we should continue to act with the utmost caution.”

He also confirmed that France will begin charging for Covid tests for residents from October 15th – tourists have had to pay for tests since earlier in the summer.

The Prime Minister said the two priorities now are to reach those who are not yet vaccinated – because they are worried, or because they are isolated and hard to reach – and to kick-start France’s booster jab campaign.

Over-65s and people with long-term medical conditions have been able to book an appointment for a third vaccine dose since September 1st, as long as they had their second dose at least six months ago. Castex said this booster campaign would be “fundamental” to fighting the virus over the coming months.

Some 300,000 people have already booked appointments for a booster injection, and France will begin providing third jabs to residents in Ehpad nursing homes next week.

EXPLAINED: How to book an appointment for the Covid-19 vaccine in France

From September 15th, healthcare workers in France will be required to have had at least one dose in order to continue working, and the Prime Minister said “a little more than 90 percent” were already vaccinated.

Extended health pass and an end to free tests

Then, from September 30th, France’s health pass, which is required for cafés, restaurants, long-distance trains and other activities, will be extended to everybody over the age of 12.

“The vaccination rate has progressed significantly over the course of the summer, beyond even what we had envisioned,” said Castex, although France has missed its target to have 50 million people first-jabbed by September 1st, the Tuesday total was 49.2 million.

Vaccinations open up to teenagers in mid June and as of Monday, 66 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds had received their first dose. 

Castex also confirmed that ‘convenience tests’ for Covid will no longer be free from October 15th.

Only residents of who require a test for medical reasons, if they have symptoms or if they have been in contact with somebody who has tested positive will be able to be entitled to have test costs reimbursed from that date.

The idea is to prevent non-vaccinated people from consistently resorting to tests in order to use the country’s health passport.

Tourists and visitors to France have had to pay for tests since the start of the summer, with costs capped at €29 for an antigen test and €49 for a PCR test.

Member comments

  1. Those who have had Covid and recovered qualify for the Health pass but don’t seem to be included in these figures. Must be at least 10% of the population in that category surely.

  2. It is still not clear what is happening to those not fully vaccinated
    Some people (not very many) had a bad reaction to the first injection and have been advised not to have another
    some people the jab is contra indicated to a health problem and cannot have the jab
    Is it fair that they should pay for their tests or is something going to be put in place for them to continue to have free antigen tests? or are they going to be banished from society for ever?
    Perhaps the local could ask the question to Jean Castex.
    As regards people like myself who really do not want to have the vaccination until more research is done as i already have a problem with thick blood potentially clotting – i will see what is happening and base my decision on if the jab is for me -based on research and which will potentially cause me the least amount of problems
    Because i choose to delay having my vaccine (even on health grounds) i think it is fair that I should pay for my tests

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France approves new vaccines for Covid Omicron sub-variants

France's health authority said Tuesday it had approved three new vaccines against the prevalent Omicron sub-variants of the Covid-19 virus, in a bid to prevent a jump in infections as colder weather approaches.

France approves new vaccines for Covid Omicron sub-variants

The so-called “bivalent: shots, approved by the European Medicines Agency earlier this month, target the BA.1, BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants, now responsible for the bulk of new cases since the outbreak began worldwide in early 2020.

French authorities are urging at-risk patients — including those over 60 or adults with pre-existing conditions — to get the bivalent vaccines as part of its booster campaign.

“The number of infections has again started rising in the past few days,” the HAS health authority said, noting that the BA.5 sub-variant was causing the most new cases.

The new vaccine targeting the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 types is made by Pfizer and BioNTech, while jabs from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are for BA.1.