Who qualifies for a booster now?
France began its booster shot programme in September, but only for certain groups. At present to qualify you must be either;
- Either aged over 65
- Suffering from a medical condition that puts you at higher risk from Covid. This includes conditions like obesity, diabetes or asthma, you can find full details here
- A health worker or domestic carer
- A close contact of someone who is immunodeprived
- Have had the single-dose Johnson a Johnson (Janssen) vaccine
You also need to have had your last dose at least six months ago.
From December 1st, 2021, anyone aged 50 to 64, who had their most recent dose of Covid-19 vaccine at least six months previously can also get a booster dose. Appointments for vaccinations in December are open on medical platforms including Doctolib.
People who contracted Covid 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)
If you meet those criteria there is no need to wait for an invitation, you can book your appointment directly either by phone, online or via the Doctolib app.
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From December 1st
From December 1st this group will be expanded to include all over 50s. Booking is now open for this group to make their appointments on or after December 1st.
From December 15th
From December 15th, health passes will begin to be deactivated for over 65s who are eligible for a booster shot but have not taken up the offer – full details here.
France uses the Pfizer vaccine for booster shots, although the medical regulator HAS has advised that Moderna can also be used, but only for over 30s.
What about everyone else?
At present, most other groups cannot have an extra dose.
Will that change?
It might, yes. The European Medicines Agency now recommends a booster shot for all adults, not just the most vulnerable.
The EMA’s opinion is advisory and it will be up to the French government to decide whether to expand the booster programme further, once the over 50s become eligible.
If this is the case it is likely that the six-month gap will remain in place, meaning that people who were vaccinated in May or June – when vaccinations opened up to everyone – would not be eligible until the end of the year or early 2022.
The French medical regulator Haute Autorite de santé has so far not given its opinion on this, although a previous statement from September did lean towards boosters for all, saying that the decline in the effectiveness of vaccines over time “does not only affect the elderly and populations at risk of severe forms”, even if these populations “remain the most affected”.
Combined with flu shots?
The HAS has already given its approval to the idea of giving the Covid vaccine booster and the flu shot in a single appointment, for those who are eligible, and it seems likely that combined appointments will become available when the flu vaccine programme is rolled out from October 26th.