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

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

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.

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“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. 

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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.

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