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COVID-19 VACCINES

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

The French government has expanded the list of groups who are eligible for a second booster shot of the Covid vaccine and is urging all those who are eligible to get their second booster - here's who qualifies.

EXPLAINED: Who qualifies for a second Covid vaccine booster in France?
Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP

Getting a second booster is voluntary. Since the vaccine pass was scrapped there is no requirement to get a booster to keep the pass active, but it is recommended for certain groups.

Who qualifies for a 4th shot now?

A fourth dose of the Covid vaccine is now available for certain groups of people.

On July 21st the government expanded the list, which has previously comprised those with a long-term illness, a compromised immune system or a chronic medical condition, and everyone aged 60 and over.

In order to qualify as of now, 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 pits 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 the most serious forms of the virus, including obesity (a BMI 30 or over), diabetes, a suppressed immune system, renal, cardiac or respiratory problems (including asthma) or high blood pressure. You can find the full list of conditions here
  • A pregnant woman
  • Either living with or in regular close contact with a person at high risk from the virus 

If you fit the above requirements and have not either contracted Covid or had your last vaccine dose within six months, you are now eligible for the fourth dose.

If you are in an eligible category there is no need to wait for an invitation, you can make your appointment directly with a pharmacy, GP or vaccine centre.

Boosters for children

In addition to a fourth shot, the government has also opened up the standard booster shot programme to certain groups of under 18s.

Adolescents aged 12-17 are encouraged to get a booster dose if they live with an immunocompromised person.

Additionally, anyone aged 12 and over, who had their most recent dose of Covid-19 vaccine at least three months ago can get their first booster dose.

Vaccination is also open to all children ages 5 to 11 years old, but it requires parental authorisation (the form can be found here). 

Find an appointment

If you qualify you can book an appointment directly, there is no need to wait for an invitation.

Appointments for vaccinations are open on online medical platforms including Doctolib, as well as via your primary care physician or through a pharmacy.

If you are 80 years or older, you can call 0 800 730 957 (free call) to be put in touch with a health professional who can come to your home to deliver the vaccination.

Many of the large vaccine centres have now closed down.

To find a location near you, you can look here.

Member comments

  1. Interesting that at a time when the French Government are collecting stats on vaccine and period issues they are still authorising a booster for pregnant women

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Reader Question: Can I specify the dual-strain vaccine when getting my Covid booster in France?

At-risk populations in France are eligible for a second Covid-19 booster shot, but many are asking whether it is possible to specifically request one of the new dual-strain vaccines when booking.

Reader Question: Can I specify the dual-strain vaccine when getting my Covid booster in France?

Question: I am qualified, by age and by time elapsed since my first Covid booster, for a fourth shot. But I want to make sure that my fourth shot will be one of the new dual-strain vaccines. Is this possible?

French health authorities launched the autumn booster campaign on October 3rd, which includes newly authorised bivalent (dual-strain) vaccines – such as 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 – which are designed to combat the Omicron variant.

France’s health authority, the Haut Autorité de Santé said in a press release on September 20th that “the expected clinical efficacy of these new dual-strain vaccines is at least equivalent or even superior to that of the original vaccines.”

READ MORE: When, where and how to get flu shots and Covid boosters this autumn in France

So is it possible to specify when booking that you want the dual-strain vaccine?

The Local spoke with representatives from the French ministry of health, who specified on Friday that “dual-strain (bivalent) vaccines will be injected as a priority during the autumn campaign in accordance with the HAS recommendations.”

For those who are eligible to renew their booster dose, it is therefore “not necessary to specify that they want a bivalent vaccine, since we will have enough doses for the entire target audience.”

France’s General Health Directorate told the Journal des Femmes that the two most commonly used vaccines for its fall campaign are “the Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.4-5 vaccine (by Pfizer) and the Spikevax bivalent Original/ Omicron BA.1 vaccine (by Moderna).”

Data for the last two weeks show that of the 112,409 people in France who received a second booster dose, 77,715 were vaccinated with the new Pfizer dual-strain vaccine, and 34,694 were vaccinated with the new Moderna Omicron-adapted product – meaning that everyone got a dual-strain vaccine.

You can find the whole list of those who are eligible for a second (or third) booster HERE.

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

Additionally, health authorities have been recommending that anyone who is eligible should receive their booster shot. 

Before the dual-strain vaccines were authorised, French health authorities recommended at-risk groups to receive booster vaccines as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the availability of the Omicron-adapted jabs.

“For people at risk, either the elderly or those with co-morbidities, it is necessary to give the fourth dose as long as the virus is circulating, and therefore as of now,” infectious diseases specialist Anne-Claude Crémieux told Le Parisien over the summer.

Crémieux added that vaccines not-adapted to Omicron subvariants have also “been proven to be effective against severe forms of the disease”.

If you have already had a booster with the original vaccine and now want an additional dual-strain booster this is possible, although you must wait either thee months (if you are over 80 or the resident of a nursing home) or six months (for other at-risk groups) after your most recent booster.

Additionally, TF1 reported on Friday that Santé publique France (France’s public health agency) was calling for an intensification of the ongoing vaccine campaign, because only 30.4 percent of 60-79 year olds had received their second booster dose as of October 10th, and only 37.7 percent of over 80s – the group most vulnerable to severe forms of Covid-19 – had received their new booster. 

France is currently seeing a continued rise in cases amid the eighth wave of Covid-19, and the number of new positive cases rose by 13 percent in one week, as of October 11th.

Santé publique France referenced this during its weekly bulletin, saying that “the circulation of Covid-19 – and hospital admissions – continue to increase throughout metropolitan France.”

“Given the current situation and the diminished adoption of preventive measures, vaccination must be reinforced, in particular by a booster with a bivalent vaccine,” the agency wrote.

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