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COVID-19

Reader question: Do I need a vaccine booster if I’ve already had Covid?

If you have been infected with Covid already, you may not need to have a booster shot.

A nurse holds up a vaccination needle. Getting infected with Covid-19 in France counts towards your overall vaccination status.
Getting infected with Covid-19 in France counts towards your overall vaccination status. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

Does getting infected count as having a vaccine dose? 

Yes. If you catch Covid-19, you body builds up a certain level of immunity making it easier to fight off future infection. This immunity is a little weaker when it comes to some new variants of the virus, but it is still significant. 

In France, if you have been infected, health authorities say this provides the equivalent protection of receiving one vaccine dose.  

Currently, you are considered fully vaccinated if you have had two doses of Astrazeneca, Pfizer or Moderna vaccines – or a single dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine.

If you are over 65, you can only use the health pass if you have also received a booster dose within a seven months of your last injection/infection. The same rule will apply to over 18s from January 15th. The time frame in which you will need to get a booster is soon going to be shortened to four months. 

READ MORE When will my French health pass deactivate?

Boosters

With regards to booster doses, the ‘1 bout of Covid = 1 vaccine dose’ rule applies. 

So if you have already been infected with Covid, you will need to have had at least two jabs to carry on using the health pass. 

Let’s see some examples:

President Emmanuel Macon contracted Covid back in December 2020, so when the time came to get vaccinated he only had a single dose. However, over the weekend he tweeted that he has now received his booster shot, so in total he has had 1 bout of Covid plus two vaccine injections. He therefore has the equivalent of three doses – which means that when January 15th comes, he will be able to use the health pass without any difficulties. 

Prime Minister Jean Castex, on the other hand, had two doses of the vaccine earlier this year, but announced last week that he had tested positive for Covid, so he will not need a booster shot, as his catching Covid counts as his third ‘dose’.

A spokesperson for the Health Ministry has written to us to explain however, that if you are infected within less than 15 days of getting vaccinated for the first time, you should follow up with a second dose two months after the infection subsides.

How can I integrate my positive Covid test result into my health pass status? 

The most important reason to be vaccinated is obviously to protect yourself from developing the most serious forms of the virus, and to protect vulnerable members of the community such as the elderly and the ill.

But as we have already covered, it is also a requirement for those who want to use the health pass. 

You can also upload a positive test result, which will be treated as the equivalent of a vaccine dose, to the TousAntiCovid app.

When you receive a positive Covid test in France, you will normally be given a piece of paper with a QR code that you can scan into the app directly, or receive the certificate later by email or SMS.

Alternatively, there is a website where you will able to find proof of your test result – there is a function on the site which allows you to import the result into your TousAntiCovid app. Some have reported significant delays when it comes to this website displaying results. 

Only positive tests between 11 days and 6 months old can be integrated into the health pass as a substitute for a vaccine dose.

What if my positive test result was in another country?

If your positive result comes from a non-EU country, you will not be able to scan the code into the app. The rules state that non-EU positive results are not accepted as a vaccine-substitute in France, but some readers have reported taking their results to either a vaccine centre or a pharmacy and having them added to the app by staff there, although this is not the official policy.

Travel

Unfortunately, the UK does not accept France’s ‘Covid plus one dose’ policy, so people who had a single dose after catching Covid are not counted as fully vaccinated.

READ ALSO I had Covid and then a single vaccine dose – what are my travel options?

Member comments

  1. Reader Question : Britain is now offering booster jabs 3 months after the second jab. In France, is it still 6 months and if so is that likely to change ?

  2. Hello, I had 2 doses of the vaccine and then got Covid over Christmas. I was due to get the booster next week, but thinking I don’t need it now? So… imported the positive test result into the TousAntiCovid app, and it hasn’t extended my passe sanitaire… any guidance you can give would be appreciated ! Thanks a lot.

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COVID-19

French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The French parliament has passed the controversial health bill which updates France's emergency provisions for Covid - and allows the return of negative Covid tests for all travellers at the border, if the health situation requires.

French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The Loi sanitaire was eventually approved by the Assemblée nationale on Monday after several variations and amendments added on its passage through the Assemblée and the Senate. It was voted on and passed Tuesday, May 26th. 

The bill replaces the State of Health Emergency that has been in place since March 2020 and puts in place provision for government actions should the health situation deteriorate or a dangerous new variant of Covid emerge.

The original text had a provision for the return of the health pass at the border, but this has now been scrapped and instead the government has the right to make a negative Covid test a condition of entry for all travellers.

At present negative tests are required only for unvaccinated travellers, and the new test requirement would only be put into force if a dangerous new variant emerges.

The government will be able to implement the testing rule by decree for two months, but a further parliamentary debate would be required to extend it beyond that.

From August 1st the State of Health Emergency will be formally repealed, which means that the government no longer has the power to introduce major limits on personal freedom such as lockdowns or curfews without first having a debate in parliament.

The bill also allows for an extension of data collection required for the SI-DEP epidemic monitoring tools such as the contact tracing app Tous Anti Covid until June 30th, 2023 and Contact Covid until January 31st, 2023. 

The most controversial measure in the bill was the reinstatement of healthcare workers who were suspended for being unvaccinated – this actually only involves a couple of hundred people but medical unions and the medical regulator Haut Autorité de Santé (HAS) have both been against it.

However the bill allows for the eventual lifting of the requirement for Covid vaccination for healthcare workers, when the HAS judges it is no longer necessary and once the requirement is lifted, the suspended healthcare workers will be reinstated “immediately”.

The bill was approved on Monday evening with 184 votes to 149, the result of a joint committee that was able to harmonise the versions of the Assembly and the Senate.

The final vote passed the Senate on Tuesday.

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