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

The Local France
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Reader Question: Can I get a third Covid booster shot in France?
A nurse prepares a dose of a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus disease Covid-19 on January 12, 2022. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP)

After France made second booster doses available to all groups, some wondering whether they could qualify for a third booster, using the new dual-strain vaccines.

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Question: I'm in my 70s and I had my second booster back in the summer but now I see that the new dual-strain vaccines are available - should I be getting an extra booster with the new type of vaccine?

French health authorities launched the autumn booster campaign on October 3rd includes newly authorised 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.

It was followed by the seasonal flu vaccination campaign in mid October.

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

As of November 28th, 9.4 percent of the over-80s and 7.2 percent of the 60-79s had received a new injection, representing two million doses distributed since October 3rd, when the fall campaign went into place.

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On December 9th, French government officials, such as Minister of Health François Braun announced that the second booster should be available to all groups, not just vulnerable people.

With a significant amount of the eligible population having already received a fourth vaccine, many are wondering whether they will be eligible for a fifth (or third booster), specifically one in the new dual-strain vaccine format.

According to Virginie, a representative from HAS - France's health authority - the organisation "no longer thinks in terms of doses for high-risk people and immunocompromised patients."

Specifically, the HAS recommends that a new injection be given - and if possible one of the dual-strain vaccines - "regardless of the number of injections received up to now".

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

However, French health authorities specified that the additional booster should "respect the minimum recommended time between two doses."

"This depends based on your profile - for people aged 80 and over, residents of nursing homes or long-term care units (USLD) and those who are immunocompromised, the wait-time is three months between jabs. For the others, the delay is set at six months."

For those who have already been infected by Covid-19, the HAS recommends that if you are eligible for a second (or third booster) that the additional dose "is still recommended, with a minimum delay of three months after infection."

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