What do I use instead of French health pass if I’m vaccine exempt?

The French government website states that doctors can supply ‘medical certificates’ as a temporary health pass substitute, but does not specify the information that should be included in them

10 September 2021
An image of a GP with a stethoscope

The French government website states that people who are advised against getting the vaccine can ask their doctor for a “medical certificate” in place of a health pass. Pic: megaflopp / Shutterstock

By Connexion journalist

One Connexion reader reports that she cannot receive the Covid vaccines currently available, for medical reasons, but cannot find any information about the type of letter she needs to obtain from her doctor in place of a health pass. 

French government website service-public.fr states: “People who are advised against receiving the Covid-19 vaccine can ask their doctor for a medical certificate which can be presented in places, services, establishments and events where the health pass is required.” 

However, it does not specify what this certificate must contain and does not explain how it might be uploaded to the TousAntiCovid app. 

Read more: Checklist: Where and when should I use the French Covid health pass?

Having recently settled in France, our reader has not yet been fully integrated into the healthcare system and still has a UK GP. 

“There is no clarity over what [the certificate] is, where I upload it and what I do with it. I’ve been searching and searching,” she said.

She added that being unable to access a health pass has made her feel extremely “isolated,” as she “cannot even go and have a coffee sitting outside.”

The Connexion has contacted doctors’ professional body, Conseil national de l’ordre des médecins, as well as the Health Ministry, the government’s Legal and administrative information directorate (Dila) to try and determine what exactly the ‘medical certificate’ should contain. 

None of these organisations has been able to provide any further details, but we will provide updates if any are received. 

However, the French Vaccination Info Service states that an exemption letter “must reference one vaccine in particular. It cannot designate all vaccines, whether they are recommended or compulsory. 

“The doctor must also be able to explain the reason why the individual cannot be vaccinated.”

A Dila spokesperson told The Connexion that “if the letter is being presented in a place where the health pass is required, it is best for it to be in French. Or you could ask for a bilingual, French-English version.”

The government has also stated that a “medical exemption certificate, in the same format as the other proofs of Covid status and allowing for authentication with a QR code, will soon be integrated into the health pass.”

Currently, a physical letter from one’s doctor – although not constituting a health pass in itself – should therefore be enough to enable affected individuals to access places where a pass is required. 

If you have a French GP who has experience of filling out vaccination exemption certificates, they may be able to advise you on the details to be included and provide the required letter for you. 

A French GP consultation costs from €23 (fully reimbursed if you are in the French system and have a mutuelle). 

On August 7, Health Minister Olivier Véran told Le Parisien that the health pass, although required to access non-emergency “medical establishments and services,” is not needed for GP appointments or ordinary visits to specialists. 

In which cases is a person medically exempt from receiving the vaccine? 

The medical contraindications to the Covid vaccines as defined by the French government include: 

  • People who are allergic to one or more of the substances contained within the vaccine, such as polyethylene glycol. According to Health Minister Olivier Véran, this particular allergy affects “approximately ten people” in France. 
  • People who have had an anaphylactic or another serious reaction to their first vaccine dose.
  • People who have the very rare blood condition capillary leak syndrome. This contraindication applies to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 
  • Children who have suffered from paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS) after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

Other people may temporarily be advised against receiving the vaccine if: 

  • They have been treated for Covid-19 with monoclonal antibodies
  • They have myocarditis or pericarditis.

Further details of these exemptions can be found on the French government website

Related stories 

Switzerland obligatory health pass: rules for travellers from France

Over quarter of a million have received Covid booster jab in France

Health professionals left out of France’s vaccine booster campaign

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