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EXPLAINED: The new rules for the French health pass

December 15th marks a major change in how the French health pass works - especially for over 65s and people who have received Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) shots. We explain everything you need to know here.

The French Health Minister has announced important changes that will impact the country's health pass.
The French Health Minister has announced important changes that will impact the country's health pass. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

Booster dose required for valid health pass

Booster doses were made available to anyone over the age of 18 from Saturday, November 27th and the gap between the second and third doses is shortened to five months. 

From December 15th, important changes come into play.

From this date people over the age of 65, who have received two doses of vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca) will progressively see their health passes deactivated unless they have a booster dose.

Around 400,000 over-65s, who were double-vaccinated before May 15th but who have not come forward for their booster dose, will see their health passes deactivated on the first day the new rules come into force.

Eligibility for booster doses begins once five months have passed since the last vaccination/infection. Deactivation only occurs once seven months have passed – meaning there is a two month window in which to get a booster shot.

So for example if you are over 65 and you received your second dose on May 25th you will need to get a booster dose quickly or your health pass will become invalid on Christmas day – 7 months after your second dose.

Remember that over 65s no longer need to book an appointment to get a booster shot – they can simply walk into any vaccination site and ask for their 3rd jab.

For people of whatever age who have received a single shot of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen in France), the December 15th rule also applies to them. From this date onwards, they will be obliged to have a booster shot if they want to continue using the health pass. People injected with this vaccine become eligible for a booster one month since their last injection – and they must get a booster within two months of their last injection or their health pass will no longer be valid.

From January 15th, this policy will be extended to all over 18s. 

If you want to continue using your health pass, you must have received a booster dose within seven months of your most recent Covid vaccine, or the pass will be deactivated.

Alert when health pass validity expires

Véran announced that users of the TousAntiCovid app, typically used to show health passes in public spaces, will receive an alert when their health pass is close expiring. 

He said that the app’s home screen will change colour to warn users.

It is still possible to use paper certificates for the health pass, but in this case no warning of imminent expiry will be sent.

Update health pass

When you get your booster shot it is up to you to update the health pass, it does not do so automatically.

You can do this by scanning the QR code on your vaccination certificate from the booster shot, in the same way as the pass was activated using the original certificate.

Many vaccine centres are now handing out confirmation that details have been passed to Assurance Maladie, rather than full certificates, so the certificate itself is downloaded from the Ameli site.

What if I don’t have a carte vitale?

If you are resident in France but do not yet have a carte vitale, you can receive a booster shot in France. If you got your first two doses here then take along your earlier vaccine certificates.

If you were vaccinated in another country and moved in the meantime, take along your previous vaccination certificates plus proof that you now live in France, such as utility bills, a work contract or receipt of your application for a carte vitale.

People who do not have a carte vitale cannot open an Ameli account, so you will have to request a full vaccination certificate from the vaccine centre. 

READ ALSO How to get the French vaccination certificate (and what to do if you don’t have a carte vitale)

Covid tests valid for 24 hours 

Unvaccinated people are able to use the French health pass, but must show a negative Covid test (PCR or antigen) taken within the previous 72 hours. 

From Monday, November 29, the validity of these tests will shrink to 24 hours. This means that if you don’t want to get vaccinated but still want to use the health pass, you must take tests every day. ‘Convenience tests’ for unvaccinated people cost €22 for an antigen test and €44 for a PCR test. 

READ ALSO France sets 7 month limit on Covid health pass and opens up booster jabs to all

“We are not putting in place a vaccine pass. There is still the possibility of doing tests,” said Véran. 

Mask rules

From now on, mask rules are back for all indoor public spaces – even those covered by the health pass.

So venues such as cinemas, theatres, tourist sites and leisure centres will again require a mask. For bars, cafés and restaurants the rules will be the same as before – masks required when moving around but not required when sitting and eating or drinking.

Outdoor spaces

Health passes will be required to attend some large outdoor public events such as Christmas markets, where mask wearing will also be enforced. 

Member comments

  1. I am not sure what is posted about the need for a booster for over 65s is accurate – this is what the French gov web page says:

    Starting on 15 December, people 65 and older or who were vaccinated with a Janssen vaccine must provide proof of booster vaccination for their COVID certificate to be extended.

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France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body outlined how Covid-19 rules changed starting on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules relaxed in France as the country brought an end to compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes took effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 would return to normal starting February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 now also have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that began at the start of February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.