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COVID-19 VACCINES

Who gets a Covid vaccine booster shot in France

France has begun administering booster shots of the Covid vaccine to some groups, while others are still waiting. Here's the latest on whether you qualify for an extra shot.

Covid vaccine boosters in France are only available to certain groups
Covid vaccine boosters in France are only available to certain groups. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP

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.

READ ALSO How to book an appointment for the Covid vaccine

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.

Vaccines

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.

READ ALSO What you need to know about the 2021 flu vaccination programme 

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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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