French health authority recommends Covid booster shot for all over 40s

Boosters will be offered to over 50s in December - and the government is now looking at the next age group.

20 November 2021
A person holding a booster vaccine

Currently, France is offering booster doses to over 65s, health professionals and people at risk of serious forms of Covid. The government plans to expand the rollout from December Pic: Tobias Arhelger / Shutterstock

Covid vaccine booster doses should be given to people aged 40 and over, six months after their second dose, France’s health service quality regulator the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) has recommended in a report published yesterday (November 19). 

The French government follows the opinions of the HAS on most health policies. 

President Emmanuel Macron announced on November 9 that the booster dose campaign would be expanded to include everyone aged 50 and over from the beginning of December. 

This step was reiterated by health minister Olivier Véran yesterday, who also said that following the HAS’ report, the extension of the booster dose to under 50s would be considered in the near future. 

Mr Macron said yesterday before the HAS report that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if booster shots were offered to all adults at some stage, Le Monde reported.

“It’s the way things are going,” he said. 

France is currently offering booster doses six months after the second dose to:

  • People over 65

  • Medical professionals

  • People at risk of serious forms of Covid (including those with diabetes and obesity issues)

  • People who are severely immunocompromised together with their close friends and family

  • People who received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine are eligible to receive a booster vaccine dose in France (four weeks after the first dose)

From December 15, all over 65s will need to have had a booster dose six months and five weeks after their second jab in order for their vaccination certificates to remain valid with the health pass (pass sanitaire) system. The five weeks is to give people time to find an appointment. 

Read more: France mandatory Covid booster jab from December: Who does it concern?

What did the HAS report?

The authority said that it analysed real-life data, taking into account the situation in Israel where booster shots are being offered to everyone aged 12 and over.

Based on that, the HAS said that the booster dose confers excellent levels of protection against infection, “including in people under 60 years of age”. 

It added that there was not yet enough data available to analyse whether additional doses should be given to people under 40.

It wrote that the rarity of severe cases or death in under 40s who have been vaccinated did not allow it to “formally conclude” what protection a booster shot would offer to this demographic. 

Read more: Which Covid vaccine will I get for my booster dose in France?

Authorities in the US yesterday gave the green light for booster shots to be given to all adults.

Related stories:

French medical body advises Covid vaccines for some children under 12

Covid France: Why are more fully vaccinated people entering ICUs?

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