Covid booster jabs in France: Who is eligible, when and what to do?

France will from September offer an additional vaccine dose to all over 65s and people at risk of serious forms of Covid-19

28 August 2021
A woman receiving a Covid-19 vaccine

France’s booster jabs are aimed at increasing the level of protection against severe forms of Covid, as the immune response to the virus has been found to naturally decrease over time Pic: Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock

France is to roll out booster jabs of Covid-19 to all over 65s, people at risk of serious forms of Covid-19 and care home residents, with appointments available to book from August 30.

The booster jabs will be given from September.

There must be a gap of at least six months between the patient’s second and third vaccine dose for those eligible, except people who suffer are severely immunocompromised. These people can get a third dose three months after their second dose.

Who is eligible?

  • Residents of care homes or those in long-term care wards
  • People over 65 years old
  • People at very high risk of serious forms of Covid-19
  • People at risk of serious forms of Covid-19
  • People who are severely immunocompromised
  • People who received the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine

The people considered at very high risk of serious forms of Covid-19 are those who are immunocompromised, have neurodegenerative diseases, those with certain heart issues, and more.

See a full list here (in French).

The people considered at risk of serious forms of Covid-19 are those with types 1 and 2 diabetes, people with cancer, people who suffer from obesity, people who have severe asthma, and more.

See a full list in the image at the end of this article.

How and when can I get a third dose?

Getting a vaccination appointment for a third dose will be the same as booking an appointment for a second dose.

You can book an appointment online through various websites, by phoning your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or nearest vaccination centre or even by walking in to drop-in centres.

Read our article here for a detailed breakdown of booking a Covid-19 vaccination - How to book your Covid-19 vaccination appointment in France.

It will be possible to book an appointment for a booster jab from Monday (August 30).

It should be noted that the booster jab must be given at least six months after the second vaccine dose was administered.

There is an exception in place for those who are severely immunocompromised, who can get a booster jab after three months.

Those who received a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be able to receive a second dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna four weeks after their first injection.

Anyone who has had Covid-19 after being fully vaccinated is not yet eligible for a booster jab. Rules on this will be updated in due course.

Everyone eligible for a third Covid-19 vaccine dose will receive either the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or the Moderna vaccine.

French health authority the Haute Autorité de Santé has stated that when France’s flu jab campaign begins in October, patients going for a booster Covid-19 jab should receive both the booster jab and the flu jab at the same time.

A new vaccination certificate

Everyone who gets a booster jab will receive a new Covid-19 vaccination certificate, which will be compatible with France’s health pass system and the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate scheme.

The government has stated that old vaccination certificates will also continue to work with these systems.

However, one Connexion reader has stated that after her booster jab - she was able to receive it early due to health issues - both her first certificate and new certificate did not work for one full week after her booster jab. They both then began to work.

The Connexion has contacted France’s insurance service Assurance maladie, in charge of France’s health pass system, to query this, and is still awaiting reply.

How does the booster jab help?

The jab is intended to increase the level of protection against severe forms of Covid, as the immune response to the virus has been found to naturally decrease over time among those fully vaccinated.

Recent studies, including one published in the scientific journal Nature in June, show that this effect is especially likely in people aged 65 and over.

Another study in Nature showed that the immune response is also lower against the Delta variant.

You can read the precise details of France’s booster jab campaign in the health ministry’s urgent announcement, via this Twitter post below.

Related stories:

France races towards 50m first Covid vaccination target, equalling UK

Anti-vax views ‘will cause many deaths' in French overseas territories

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