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COVID-19 VACCINES

How the rules of the French health pass have changed

From Wednesday December 15th, there will be an important change in the rules around France's Covid-19 health pass that will impact many in the country.

A patient receives a dose of Moderna vaccine in a French hospital. Booster doses will soon become a requirement for people who wish to use the health pass.
A patient receives a dose of Moderna vaccine in a French hospital. Booster doses will soon become a requirement for people who wish to use the health pass. (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP)

In France, Covid health passes are required to enter certain venues such as bars and restaurants as well as on long distance trains.

Most people use the TousAntiCovid app on their phones to show their health pass. Paper versions are also available. 

Currently, you can only hold a valid health pass under the one of the following conditions:

  • You are fully vaccinated (proof of a previous case of infection within the last 11 months counts as one dose);
  • You have proof of testing negatively for Covid taken within the last 24 hours;
  • Proof of recovery from Covid-19 within the last 6 months
  • A medical certificate exempting you from vaccination for health reasons (if you are allergic to one of the components for example)

New definition of ‘fully vaccinated’

From December 15th, there are important changes in what counts as being “fully vaccinated”. 

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, the rules around boosters doses and health passes will be expanded to all adults

People over the age of 18, who have received two doses of vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca) will progressively see their health passes deactivated from January 15th unless they have a booster dose. As with the over 65s, this age group can wait for a maximum of seven months (since their last injection/infection) to receive their booster dose — otherwise their health passes will no longer be valid for entry into bars and restaurants. 

Still confused about when to get a booster? 

The above information makes some pretty dense reading. We are aware – and so are the health authorities. 

Fortunately, if you have downloaded the TousAntiCovid app, you do not need to think about this too much. The Health Minister, Olivier Véran, has said that when the deadline is approaching for you to get your booster dose, the app’s home screen will change colour and you will receive an alert on your phone.

If you are still confused, there is an online simulator HERE which tells you when you need to have a booster dose in order to keep using the health pass.  

Updating vaccination status

When you get your booster shot, it is up to you to update the health pass. The process is not automatic.

You can do this by scanning the QR code on your vaccination certificate from the vaccination site – whether it is a vaccination centre, pharmacy, nurses clinic or elsewhere.

Some vaccination sites no longer hand out these certificates routinely, instead submitting information about your status to Assurance Maladie. If this is the case, you must download the certificate from the Ameli site to receive the QR code, which can then be scanned into the TousAntiCovid app. 

If you ask nicely at the vaccination site, they may be able to give you a certificate without you having to go through Ameli. But this is not guaranteed. 

Does this rule apply if I am just visiting France? 

The French health ministry has confirmed to The Local that the rules apply to visitors as well as residents. 

Where does France currently stand on booster vaccination rates?

France has already carried out almost 16 million booster shots and is confident of reaching its target of 20 million before Christmas.

The booster is now seen as a key weapon in defeating the Omicron variant which experts believe spreads faster than previous Covid variants and could become dominant in Europe in the next few weeks.

France reported on December 14th over 63,400 positive Covid tests, the highest figure since April, while almost 2,800 people are in intensive care with the illness.

Over 76 percent of people have been double vaccinated in France and children deemed at risk can be jabbed from Wednesday, with vaccinations soon also expected to fully opened to the very young.

Member comments

  1. Is it certain yet whether visitors from the UK who have not received their booster will also become ineligible for the Pass Sanitaire from 15 December if aged over 65 years or from 1 January 2022 if aged over 18? Is the TousAntiCovid app capable of distinguishing between French/EU QR codes and a UK QR code?

    1. I tried to scan the QR from my US booster shot to update my French pass sanitaire and it was not recognized. My guess is that it only recognizes the French QR codes.

    1. Define foreigner? 🙂
      I’m a limey so I guess I qualify with a Titre de Sejour.
      I’m 64 (whew!) so I can wait a year to worry about it.
      Yet, screw visiting Blighty … easy to get in, but getting out now seems like a nightmare.
      And I’m not talking about Eurostar! 🙂
      Me? I’m staying put for the Xmas / New Years.

  2. Your article states that over 65’s no longer need to book an appointment to get a booster shot. That is NOT the case. My wife has visited the main centre in Agen where she was offered an appointment for 27th December. We have tried six Phamarcies in our area and all have offered January.

    1. Technically they don’t, but it’s common sense to realise that a Pharmacy or centre cannot store or have the staff to accommodate walk-ins. So just expect to book an appointment.

  3. My approved Health pass was deactivated on 5 November 2021 I had the booster vaccination on 29 October 2021. I tried to send undated vaccination info but have as no response. Suggestions who / how to reactive??

  4. I received an email from Ameli saying my pass sanitaire would become inactive on 12 th December unless I had a booster jab. I had the booster jab begining of November. Accessed my Ameli site today and found that a new pass was there ready to down load with a new Q code and showing that I had got three doses. Hope that helps.

  5. The Local continues to print ” remember that over 65’s no longer need to need to book an appointment to get a booster shot-they can simply walk into any vaccination site and ask for their 3rd jab”. Technically I would suggest that this statement in not entirely accurate but misleading.

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COVID-19 ALERT

France extends second Covid vaccine boosters to over 60s

The French government has announced an extension of the second booster programme for the Covid vaccine to over 60s, as well as those with a medical condition.

France extends second Covid vaccine boosters to over 60s

Previously offered only to over 80s and those with a medical condition, the programme will now be extended to those aged 60 and over, health minister Olivier Véran announced on Thursday, reaching an extra 500,000 people.

He told RTL: “We are opening the second booster to people aged 60 and over, six months after their first booster.”

The change comes into effect immediately, although the second booster shot can only be given once six months has passed since the first booster.

As ever, there is no need to wait for an invitation, if you fit the criteria you can book your appointment directly with a pharmacy, GP or vaccine centre.

A second booster is entirely voluntary, and will not be required to keep ‘fully vaccinated’ status for those in the eligible groups.

Those who qualify for the second booster shot are now

  • Anyone aged 60 and over
  • Anyone under the age of 60 who has a chronic or severe illness including cancer patients, those with a compromised immune system and people living with chronic conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure or a respiratory condition. Find the full list here.

EXPLAINED Who qualifies for a second Covid vaccine booster shot?

The Haute Autorité de Santé, France’s medical regulator, considers that extending second boosters to the entire population is not “relevant” at this stage.

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