France rules both parents must agree to vaccinate child against Covid

The French Health Ministry has indicated that both parents must give permission before children aged 5-11 can get a Covid vaccine. But how does this actually work?

A child receives a Covid vaccine in France. From now one, children aged 5-11 need permission from both parents to get vaccinated.
A child receives a Covid vaccine in France. From now one, children aged 5-11 need permission from both parents to get vaccinated. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Depending on the age of their children, parents in France may have to give permission for them to get vaccinated against Covid-19. 

Vaccination was opened to all children aged 5-11 in December.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry said that both parents must give permission for children aged 5-11. Only one parent can attend the vaccination appointment, which means the second parent must sign an attestation sur l’honneur – a document declaring that they are ok for their child to get vaccinated. You can find a template HERE

At the appointment, the parent attending will be asked to fill out the pre-vaccine medical questionnaire, specially adapted for younger children – you can find a copy of the form here.

READ MORE  How children aged 5-11 can get the Covid vaccine in France

For children aged 12-15, only one parent needs to give their permission, which must be provided in paper format. The authorities working at the vaccination site will keep this document. 

For teenagers aged 16 and older, no parental permission is required. 

If they want to get vaccinated, all children and teenagers must also give their oral consent at the vaccination site itself, after being briefed by the person administering the dose. 

One parent is allowed to accompany anyone under the age of 18 to their vaccination appointment. 

What vaccine will my child receive? 

Children aged 5-11 receive a vaccine Pfizer vaccine that is three times weaker than the adult dose given to children over the age of 12. 

According to the Health Ministry, there are some 400 health centres offering vaccination for children. France received stocks of close to 2 million of these adapted doses for children in January and will have more than 6 million available by the end of February. 

Children aged 5-11 can receive their second dose 18-24 days after their first. 

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Can anybody in France now get the latest Covid booster vaccine?

France’s Health Minister François Braun announced on Friday that booster doses of Covid-19 vaccine would available to all groups in France.

Can anybody in France now get the latest Covid booster vaccine?

Covid-19 vaccine boosters in France are no longer limited to over-60s and vulnerable people, Health Minister François Braun confirmed in a TV interview.

After several weeks of avoiding the eligibility question over who can receive a new dose, Braun told BFMTV on Friday that the vaccination, “is not reserved for people at risk or over 60 years of age”.

With Covid cases rising, and leading politicians including President Emmanuel Macron wearing masks again in certain public appearances, Braun added: “I repeat. Everyone can be vaccinated against the flu and against Covid.” 

During a press conference on Friday evening, Braun encouraged all people in France who have not yet gotten their second booster shot to do so before the start of the holidays in an effort to “be in solidarity with vulnerable groups.” He also recommended that people wear masks in crowded, indoor areas, such as public transportation, ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays to decrease the spread of Covid-19 and influenza.

The minister also noted that those with questions or concerns regarding scheduling their vaccination can call the phone number 0800 730 957 for assistance.

Earlier in the day on Friday, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne also told RTL that it was important that as many people as possible should have another dose of Covid-19 vaccine. “It is necessary to be attentive to fragile people by being vaccinated before seeing family during the holidays,” she said.

Braun said that it had been “taken for granted for several weeks” that Covid vaccinations were indeed open to all.

As of early December, 20 percent of over 80s, and 40 percent of those aged between 60 and 80 had received a second booster dose. But both figures were, according to Braun, “insufficient”, who added that relatives of vulnerable people should ensure they were vaccinated to protect their loved ones.

READ MORE: Reader Question: Can I get a third Covid booster shot in France?

Boosters can be done three months after an infection with Covid-19, or three months after the last injection for people over 80 years, residents of Ehpad and immunocompromised people. For the others, it should be done six months after the last dose received.

Despite Braun and Borne’s comments, some pharmacies “could [still] refuse” to vaccinate anyone under 60 “because there are no clear rules”, Pierre-Olivier Variot, president of the Union des syndicats de pharmaciens d’officine, said earlier this week.