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What does Macron’s announcement change for France’s Covid vaccine boosters?

Vaccine booster France
Covid vaccine boosters. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP
Emmanuel Macron has announced two big changes to the booster shot programme for the Covid vaccine in France - here's what we know and when the changes come into force.

At present the following groups are eligible for a booster shot in France;

  • Over 65s
  • Those with serious illnesses
  • Those with health conditions that increase the risk of developing the most serious forms of Covid (eg obesity, diabetes or respiratory conditions). Find full details of qualifying medical conditions here.
  • Those in close contact with an immunodeficient person
  • Healthcare workers and domestic carers
  • People who had the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (or Janssen) vaccine

The booster is given six months after the last vaccine dose, so those in eligible groups need to wait until six months has passed since their last shot.

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Once they become eligible they can book a booster dose directly at a vaccine centre, GP or pharmacy. There is no need for an invitation.

Boosters are given with Pfizer, although the French health regulator (HAS) has recommended that Moderna can also be used, but only for over 30s.

From December

From the “beginning of December” – Macron did not given an exact date – this will be expanded to include all over 50s, provided the necessary six months have elapsed.

Under 50s will not qualify for a booster shot, unless they meet one of the other criteria.

READ ALSO What Macron’s announcement changes for Covid boosters

Health pass

Macron also included a push towards getting the third dose by linking, for the first time, booster shots to the health pass.

The health pass, which is required to access venues including bars, cafés, restaurants, leisure centres, tourist sites and long-distance trains, needs either proof of recent recovery from Covid, a negative Covid test or proof of vaccination.

At present two doses is enough, but from December 15th this will change and those aged over 65 who are eligible for a third dose but who have not yet had one will no longer show up as ‘fully vaccinated’ on the health pass.

Those under 65 can continue to use the health pass as normal, even if they qualify for a booster through another factor. Trying to link all boosters to the health pass was judged too complicated and – in the case of those who qualify through medical conditions – a possible breach of medical confidentiality.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal clarified on Wednesday that health passes for the over 65s will be automatically deactivated six months and five weeks after the date of their last injection. So over 65s who are not yet eligible for a booster under the six-month rule can continue to use their pass after December 15th.

What don’t we know

Over the past 18 months, most big changes to Covid-related rules have been announced in broad brush-strokes by the president or prime minister, with the details clarified in the following days by the relevant ministries, so there are some parts of this announcement that are still not clear.

Not made clear was the technical aspect of validating the health pass for people who have already had their booster dose – although readers of The Local who have had the booster have reported that they simply scanned the QR code on their new certificate into the TousAntiCovid app for an updated pass.

The date of opening up vaccines to the 50-64 age group is yet to be announced, along with details of whether over 50s can book now for an advanced date.

We also don’t know what this means for visitors aged over 65 from outside France who need to access the health pass.

We will update this story as soon as we know more.


Member comments

  1. We made reservations for the booster shot for Saturday. In the Netherlands the authorities are still dithering about whether to give boosters and when and how, and if people will accept it etc etc whilst here in France the government just gets on and does its job. We feel much safer, also with the health pass.

  2. I believe that if you had the Janssen vaccine the waiting period for the booster shot is four weeks not six months.

  3. Had my booster today, under 65 with underlying health condition. Received a new EU COVID certificate before leaving, 3/3 when I entered it on the anti COVID app confetti appeared and a new message fully vaccinated. Hope this info helps others.

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