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Reader question: I’ve only had one vaccine dose in France after Covid recovery so what are my travel options?

In France the vaccination policy is that if you have previously had Covid and recovered, you only need a single dose of the vaccine - but not all countries accept this as 'fully vaccinated', leading to problems travelling.

Reader question: I've only had one vaccine dose in France after Covid recovery so what are my travel options?
One little prick is not enough for the UK. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

Question: I have had Covid and recovered, so I only got a single dose of Pfizer. In France I am counted as fully vaccinated and I can use the health passport with no problems, but I want to travel to see family in the UK and it seems that they don’t accept this. What should I do?

Although the UK has finally agreed to recognise as “fully vaccinated” those people who had mixed dose vaccines in EU countries, it seems there is no change for recovered Covid patients who had a single dose.

The UK rules state: “If you were vaccinated with a 2 dose vaccine (such as Moderna or Pfizer) you must have had both doses to be considered fully vaccinated. This applies in all cases, even if you have recently recovered from COVID-19 and have natural immunity. Those who have had COVID-19 and have only had one dose of a 2 dose vaccine must follow the rules for unvaccinated arrivals.”

The Local has asked for clarity on whether this is likely to change, but this does not seem to be included in the relaxation of UK rules in October.  Those rules state: “You must have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England.” So in other words two doses of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca.

Those who had this type of vaccination only really have four options, and none of them are perfect.


The British rules as read at present state that you must quarantine. This quarantine can be done at home or at the home of a friend or relative, but you must stay indoors for 10 days after arrival with ‘Day 1’ beginning the day after you arrive.

In addition to this you must pay for two sets of post-arrival tests – a Day 2 test and a Day 8 test – which are likely to set you back more than £100.

If you are staying for less than 10 days you must quarantine for the length of your stay and must still pay for both the Day 2 and the Day 8 test – even if you leave before Day 8.

You have the option of paying extra for a Day 5 test and ending your quarantine early, although be warned that you can only end the quarantine when you get the result of the Day 5 test, not on Day 5 itself, and some travellers have reported long waits to get their results and be able to leave quarantine.

Get an extra vaccine dose in France

In order to be considered fully vaccinated under UK travel rules, we know some people in France are resorting to getting a second dose of the vaccine.

The Local asked the French health ministry if this was possible and were told that it was not officially considered necessary.

However several readers have reported being able to get an extra vaccine by simply booking an appointment at a vaccine centre and explaining their situation to staff there.

There are no reported health concerns about having a second dose of vaccine when you have already had Covid, indeed in some countries this is the official policy.

Travel anyway 

Most checking of vaccine certificates is done in France before you board your transport, and staff at airports, ports etc use the TousAntiCovid vérif app, which simply checks whether you are ‘fully vaccinated’ or not. Since Covid recovery plus one dose is fully vaccinated as far as France is concerned, you would show up as validé on their database.

However there is a potential risk.

To enter the UK you also have to fill in the Passenger Locator Form which requires you to declare that you are fully vaccinated with two doses.

According to the UK rules anyone found to have lied on their form is guilty of a criminal offence and faces a fines of up to £10,000 or a jail term (although this has never been tested).

Don’t go

This is not much help to people who have loved ones in the UK who they are desperate to see, we know.

But if you’re looking at travel for leisure or tourism purposes, you can go anywhere in the EU or Schengen zone and your French vaccination status will be recognised. We hear Italy is nice. 

Are you affected by this issue? Get in touch with The Local and we will raise your concerns with the UK authorities – contact us at [email protected]

Member comments

  1. Hi there,

    Do you know if this is still the policy in regards to the most recent rule changes? If people from the UK have had a single vaccine then recovered from Covid, are they classed as fully vaccinated when entering France?

    Thank you

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Shortages at French filling stations after strikes at refineries

Many Total Energies fuel stations across France are reporting shortages of petrol and diesel after industrial action by refinery workers. However, the company's fuel discount may also be to blame.

Shortages at French filling stations after strikes at refineries

Employees of Total Energies have been staging industrial action that includes blockades at refineries, in an ongoing dispute over pay. 

However some have blamed Total’s extra fuel discount – on top of the government’s 30 centimes per litre fuel rebate – for the shortages at filling stations across the country. 

While the issue has been primarily concentrated in the Paris region, it also extends north to the Pas-de-Calais département and West toward Brittany, and can be found in some other parts of the country too.

Almost half of the TotalEnergies fuel stations in the Paris region were out of stock on October 4th, according to France bleu.

La Voix du Nord reported on Monday that “From Saint-Léonard to Marquise, it was impossible to fill up. The same situation has been observed in Arras.

The pumps were also dry in eight TotalEnergies stations in Strasbourg and its surrounding area, according to BFMTV.

Customers can check to see if stations near them are low in stock by consulting the map on TotalEnergies’ website, HERE.

The problem has been ongoing for several days, after refinery workers staged industrial action beginning on September 27th to push for the oil group to increase workers’ wages due to inflation. 

However, the refinery workers’ strike is not the only reason for fuel shortages at TotalEnergies service stations. The company began offering customers an additional discount on fuel prices at the beginning of September, which could be added on top of the government’s existing fuel subsidy.

On July 22nd, the TotalEnergies announced it would offer a discount of €0.20 per litre at all its service stations in the country from September 1st until November 1st. In the second phase, which would run from November until December 31, the discount will be €0.10 per litre.

As a result of the campaign, the oil giant has seen a 30 percent increase in the number of customers frequenting its stations, which has left many without the necessary stocks to meet high demand.

Additionally, the availability of fuel in stations was impacted by the extension of industrial action by refinery workers until October 3rd – it was set to run only three days.

Despite several stations struggling to meet customer demand, the oil company assured customers that there is “no shortage of fuel” and that it “has built up stocks and is importing regularly,” according to France régions.