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COVID-19 VACCINES

France offers fourth Covid jab to over-80s

France is offering a fourth dose of a coronavirus vaccine to people older than 80 who had their booster more than three months ago, the prime minister said Saturday.

A nurse prepares a dose of a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19.
A nurse prepares a dose of a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19. CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP

Jean Castex told Le Parisian newspaper that they were nevertheless recommended to keep wearing a face mask as France relaxes its Covid-19 restrictions.

The European nation is on Monday to drop the vaccine pass, proof that someone has been triple-vaccinated against the illness, which until now was required to enter public spaces such as cinemas or restaurants.

READ ALSO: Vaccine pass end: What changes in France on Monday

A similar pass will however be needed to go to a hospital or a retirement home in order to protect the most vulnerable.

Masks will from March 14th only be required on public transport, and no longer be necessary at work or in school.

France has recorded more than 23  million cases of Covid-19 on its soil, more than 140,000 of which were fatal.

President Emmanuel Macron is likely to point to his handling of the pandemic as he campaigns for re-election in polls next month, though Russia’s war on Ukraine has largely overshadowed the campaign.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What do France’s new Covid rules mean for tourists?

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COVID-19 VACCINES

EU approves new dual-strain Covid vaccines in time for autumn booster campaigns

The European Medicines Agency has approved two new Covid vaccines that are designed to protect against both the original strain of the virus and the new Omicron variants.

EU approves new dual-strain Covid vaccines in time for autumn booster campaigns

Both Pfizer and Moderna had submitted applications for their dual-strain vaccines to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in mid-July, with the agency announcing on Thursday that both had been approved.

The vaccines target both the Omicron variant and the original strain of Covid, but do not specifically target the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants that have emerged as the global dominant strains in recent months.

The EMA approval comes after the US approved both vaccines on Wednesday, while the UK approved the Moderna dual-strain vaccine in mid-August.

Within the EU, countries have the choice of accepting the EMA recommendation straight out, or asking their own domestic health regulator to give its approval.

The dual-strain vaccines are widely expected to be used in Covid booster shot campaigns this autumn, which many countries plan to combine with the annual flu vaccination drive. 

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