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France launches autumn Covid booster campaign with new dual-strain vaccine

The Local France
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France launches autumn Covid booster campaign with new dual-strain vaccine
(Photo: Clement Mahoudeau / AFP)

From Monday the new dual-strain Covid vaccines are available in France, with those in high risk groups urged to get a second booster shot.


Health minister François Braun announced that the newly authorised dual-strain vaccines - designed to fight both the Omicron variant and the original Covid strains - were available for vulnerable people in France from Monday, October 3rd, and on December 9th he said that the second booster shot would be available for all groups in France.

READ MORE: Covid-19: ‘Everyone can be vaccinated’ says France’s Health Minister

Currently, the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants account for more than 95 percent of the confirmed cases in France, although experts are - as ever - cautious about the possibility of new variants emerging in the months to come.

Two so-called “bivalent” vaccines - one made by Pfizer and the other Moderna - that target both the original and omicron variants have been developed.


Both the European Medicines Agency and France's national authority for health, the HAS (Haute autorité de santé)  have approved these new vaccines for use.

Specifically, this concerns 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.

People in high-risk groups have been eligible for a second Covid booster since the spring, but from Monday can get the dual-strain vaccine if they want to. People who have already had a second booster are not advised to get an extra shot of the dual-strain vaccine.

It is also planned to combine an autumn vaccine booster programme with the seasonal flu vaccine campaign, which begins October 18th. Full details on that here - Explained: France’s plan for autumn flu and Covid vaccine campaigns

Still under review by EMA is the "bivalent recombinant protein vaccine” which was developed by Spanish lab Hipra and reportedly confers protection against the BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron. It is intended as a booster dose for people aged 16 or over.

The European Commission announced in early August that it had signed a contract to acquire up to 250 million doses of this vaccine, once it is approved.

The second booster - a fourth dose for most people - of the Covid-19 vaccine is only available for certain groups of people.

In order to qualify, 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 puts 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 more serious forms of the virus. 
  • A pregnant woman
  • Either living with or in regular close contact with a person at high risk from the virus 

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




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