For members


Reader question: What if I can’t get a booster because I recently had Covid?

As health passes begin to deactivate for people who have not yet had their booster injection of the Covid vaccine, we look at the situation for people who have recently recovered from the virus.

A medical professional prepares a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine
Photo: Jeff Pachoud / AFPEFF PACHOUD / AFP)

Question: I recently had Covid-19, I’m fully recovered now, thankfully, but they say I now can’t get my booster for another five months – will my health pass deactivate?

The Covid-19 vaccination programme is well under way in France. As of December 21st, more than 20.5 million people had received their booster dose injections, while nearly 52.6 million have had at least one vaccine jab.

But what about those who have had both doses from the first round of vaccinations, but later tested positive for Covid-19? When can they have a third dose – and will any delay cause problems with their pass sanitaire?

France’s Ministry of Health recommends that anyone eligible for a third dose who then tests positive for the virus should wait five or six months after their infection before booking an appointment for a booster injection.

“The booster dose is for everyone 18 years of age and older, and with a complete initial vaccination schedule. As early as five months after the last dose of the initial regimen or after a Covid-19 infection if it occurred after vaccination,” the Department of Health website states.

This information is in line with Haute autorité de Santé (HAS) recommendations. In November, the HAS indicated that in case of “an infection after a complete vaccination schedule, the HAS recommends the administration of an additional dose six months after the infection, in the population eligible for the booster”.

Under current rules, to keep your pass sanitaire valid, you must have a booster dose between five months and six months and four weeks after infection, according to the Ministry of Health website. The government has yet to publish information on whether this deadline will be shortened, in accordance with the new earlier eligibility. 

READ ALSO Reader question: What happens if my French health pass is deactivated?

Until then, a positive PCR between 11 days and six months old is sufficient to prove you have immunity from the virus. You should be able to scan the QR code of your PCR test into your Tous Anti Covid app, or carry the document with you as proof of recovery. 

“A positive RT-PCR or antigenic test more than 11 days and less than six months [old] indicates a limited risk of reinfection with Covid-19,” the Ministry says.

Remember, too, a vaccination certificate after a booster is valid immediately, while one for a second dose only takes effect seven days after it has been administered.

READ ALSO What will change when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass?

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For members


France launches autumn Covid booster campaign with new dual-strain vaccine

From Monday the new dual-strain Covid vaccines are available in France, with those in high risk groups urged to get a second booster shot.

France launches autumn Covid booster campaign with new dual-strain vaccine

Health minister François Braun has announced that the newly authorised dual-strain vaccines – designed to fight both the Omicron variant and the original Covid strains – are available for vulnerable people in France from Monday, October 3rd. 

Currently, the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants account for more than 95 percent of the confirmed cases in France, although experts are – as ever – cautious about the possibility of new variants emerging in the months to come.

Two so-called “bivalent” vaccines – one made by Pfizer and the other Moderna – that target both the original and omicron variants have been developed.

Both the European Medicines Agency and France’s national authority for health, the HAS (Haute autorité de santé)  have approved these new vaccines for use.

Specifically, this concerns the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to BA.1, the Moderna vaccine adapted to BA.1, and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to BA.4/5.

People in high-risk groups have been eligible for a second Covid booster since the spring, but from Monday can get the dual-strain vaccine if they want to. People who have already had a second booster are not advised to get an extra shot of the dual-strain vaccine.

It is also planned to combine an autumn vaccine booster programme with the seasonal flu vaccine campaign, which begins October 18th. Full details on that here – Explained: France’s plan for autumn flu and Covid vaccine campaigns

Still under review by EMA is the “bivalent recombinant protein vaccine” which was developed by Spanish lab Hipra and reportedly confers protection against the BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron. It is intended as a booster dose for people aged 16 or over.

The European Commission announced in early August that it had signed a contract to acquire up to 250 million doses of this vaccine, once it is approved.

The second booster – a fourth dose for most people – of the Covid-19 vaccine is only available for certain groups of people.

In order to qualify, you must have received your first booster shot more than six months ago and be either:

  • Aged 60 or over
  • Aged 18-59 with a serious medical condition such as cancer patients, dialysis patients or transplant patients that puts you at high risk of developing the most serious forms of the virus
  • Aged 18-59 with a condition that puts you at higher risk of developing more serious forms of the virus. 
  • A pregnant woman
  • Either living with or in regular close contact with a person at high risk from the virus 

READ ALSO EXPLAINED: Who qualifies for a second Covid vaccine booster in France?