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COVID-19

Can anybody in France now get the latest Covid booster vaccine?

France’s Health Minister François Braun announced on Friday that booster doses of Covid-19 vaccine would available to all groups in France.

Can anybody in France now get the latest Covid booster vaccine?
(Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

Covid-19 vaccine boosters in France are no longer limited to over-60s and vulnerable people, Health Minister François Braun confirmed in a TV interview.

After several weeks of avoiding the eligibility question over who can receive a new dose, Braun told BFMTV on Friday that the vaccination, “is not reserved for people at risk or over 60 years of age”.

With Covid cases rising, and leading politicians including President Emmanuel Macron wearing masks again in certain public appearances, Braun added: “I repeat. Everyone can be vaccinated against the flu and against Covid.” 

During a press conference on Friday evening, Braun encouraged all people in France who have not yet gotten their second booster shot to do so before the start of the holidays in an effort to “be in solidarity with vulnerable groups.” He also recommended that people wear masks in crowded, indoor areas, such as public transportation, ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays to decrease the spread of Covid-19 and influenza.

The minister also noted that those with questions or concerns regarding scheduling their vaccination can call the phone number 0800 730 957 for assistance.

Earlier in the day on Friday, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne also told RTL that it was important that as many people as possible should have another dose of Covid-19 vaccine. “It is necessary to be attentive to fragile people by being vaccinated before seeing family during the holidays,” she said.

Braun said that it had been “taken for granted for several weeks” that Covid vaccinations were indeed open to all.

As of early December, 20 percent of over 80s, and 40 percent of those aged between 60 and 80 had received a second booster dose. But both figures were, according to Braun, “insufficient”, who added that relatives of vulnerable people should ensure they were vaccinated to protect their loved ones.

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

Boosters can be done three months after an infection with Covid-19, or three months after the last injection for people over 80 years, residents of Ehpad and immunocompromised people. For the others, it should be done six months after the last dose received.

Despite Braun and Borne’s comments, some pharmacies “could [still] refuse” to vaccinate anyone under 60 “because there are no clear rules”, Pierre-Olivier Variot, president of the Union des syndicats de pharmaciens d’officine, said earlier this week.

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COVID-19

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body has outlined how Covid-19 rules will change on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules will relax in France as the country ends compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes will take effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 will return to normal on February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 will have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that will begin in February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.

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