France opens up Covid vaccine booster shots to children

France has announced that its Covid vaccine booster shot programme will be extended to under 18s from Monday.

France opens up Covid vaccine booster shots to children
French teenagers can now get a Covid vaccine booster. Photo: Eliot Blondet/AFP

Announcing a package of measures including the introduction of a vaccine pass, French Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that Covid vaccine boosters will be extended to under 18s. 

Booster shots of the Covid vaccine have been open to all adults in France since late November, but from Monday, January 24th, children aged between 12 and 17 will also be eligible.

However, under 18s will not be required to have a booster in order to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’ – for adults getting a booster when eligible is a requirement in order to keep the ‘fully vaccinated’ status on the country’s health pass.

Under 18s do not need to wait for an appointment, and they or their parents can book an appointment at a pharmacy, GP or vaccine centre from Monday.

Teenagers have been eligible for a Covid vaccination since the summer and over 12s need a health pass in order to access venues like cinemas, leisure centres and cafés.

Children aged between 5 and 11 are eligible for first and second doses of the vaccine only.

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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.