EXPLAINED: The new rules for the French health pass

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)
As he opened up Covid booster shots to all adults, France's health minister also announced a big change to how the country's health pass works. Here are the new rules.

French Health Minister Olivier Véran has announced a raft of new measures to combat the sharp rise in Covid cases.

They have significant implications for the country’s health pass system – which is required to access a wide range of public spaces including bars, cafés, leisure centres, gyms, tourist sites and long-distance trains.

Here’s what changes;

Booster dose required for valid health pass

Booster doses will be 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, health passes for those over the age of 65 who are eligible for the booster but have not received it will begin to be deactivated.

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.

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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. 

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