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Reader question: Can you get a Covid vaccine booster without a French carte vitale?

Covid vaccination centre in Lyon, France
Vaccinations are open to people without a carte vitale health card in France. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP
As the booster shot programme for the Covid vaccine opens up to all, we look at the situation for new arrivals in France who are not yet registered in the French health system with the all-important carte vitale.

Question: I live in France and applied for my carte vitale some months ago, but it has not arrived yet. Does this mean that I can’t get a booster shot for my Covid vaccine?

Like the main vaccination programme, booster shots in France are reserved for those who live here. However you do not have to be a French citizen to receive one. Thanks to a Decree published earlier in the year, you can access it even if you are not yet registered in the health system and do not have the carte vitale.

However, there are some issues specific to the booster shot programme. 

If you had your first doses in France

If you had your first and second vaccine doses in France then things should be easier to get the booster.

Take with you to your appointment the certificates from your first two vaccine doses – take the full paper certificates rather than just the TousAntiCovid app as the paper certificates have extra details such as the batch number of your first vaccines.  Also bring proof of ID such as a passport and proof that you are resident in France (carte de séjour or visa if you have one, if not proof of address such as utility bills).

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If you had your first doses outside France

If you had your previous doses in another country but moved to France in the interim, then things could be a little more complicated. As a resident of France you are still entitled to the booster, but it’s likely that you will need to explain your situation to vaccine centre staff. If your French is still at the beginner stage it might be a good idea to take along a friend who speaks French who can explain your situation.

Take with you proof of residency in France (carte de séjour or visa if you have one, if not proof of address such as utility bills) plus proof of ID such as a passport.

You will also need vaccine certificates from your home country – if this is the UK you will need to download and print out the full certificate from the NHS website, not merely the generated QR code.

If you were vaccinated in the EU, Schengen zone or UK then your codes will be recognised by the French system. If you were vaccinated outside the EU then you may need to first convert your vaccination certificates to French ones – find details on how to do that here.

Certificates

You also need to ensure that you are given the correct certificate so that you can continue to use the French health pass.

Some centres give out full certificates, while some give only a Synthèse des Données and others give both.

The Synthèse des Données (example above) is essentially just telling you that details of your vaccination have been sent to Assurance Maladie. For people with a carte vitale this is no problem – they can then log into their Ameli account and download the full certificate.

If you do not yet have a carte vitale, however, you will need to ask for the full certificate at your appointment.

If you have already got the booster and received only the Synthèse, you can go back to the vaccine centre and ask for this to be exchanged for a full certificate, explaining that you are unable to create an Ameli account since you do not yet have a carte vitale.

Once you have the full certificate, scan the QR code on the certificate into the TousAntiCovid app in order to keep your health pass activated.

If you prefer to use a paper certificate, you will need to begin showing the new certificate – showing your dose as “3 of 3” – in health pass venues.


Member comments

  1. I can not find my first vaccine certificate and had both in France I am waiting for my carte vital so can not log on the ammeli I have my second certificate and my booster booked will there be issues?

  2. We had our American vaccine info converted to a QR code, then loaded on the Tous AntiCovid app. this past fall in France. I have since gotten a booster in America. Any idea how to add that to the app?

  3. My husband and I have had two phizer vaccines in France as we are French residents, however we will be in UK when are boosters are due, can we have our booster in UK and will it work on our tous anticovid pass sanitaire, can it be added? We are UK citizens. Thanks

  4. We had our first two vaccinations in the UK, the booster in France, with no issues. Problem is we cannot add the booster vaccination to our NHS pass. Has anyone else had this problem and found a solution?

  5. My wife and I are in exactly this situation and at that stage had no Visa or Carte de Sejour.

    We booked an appointment on the Doctolib app in Saint Jean d’Angély, went to the vaccination centre and showed our GHIC’s, vaccination certificates and passports. We received our boosters without any fuss.

  6. Most importantly- don’t stress!
    I know of people with tourist visas who were staying here for several months and were vaccinated with minimal explanations.

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