Does France accept UK-administered Covid vaccines for contact tracing?

The UK does not accept foreign vaccines as part of its contact tracing procedure. Does France? We explain the rules for travellers vaccinated in the UK

20 November 2021

Fully vaccinated travellers from the UK to France do not need to take a Covid test after arriving in France Pic: EugeneEdge / Shutterstock

Reader question: I have read about people vaccinated in France being told they have to quarantine after travelling to the UK because someone on their flight tested positive for Covid, and in the UK only British-administered vaccines are recognised for contact tracing. Is this the same situation when travelling from the UK to France?

The Connexion reported last month that hundreds of vaccinated people travelling from France to the UK are being told to self-isolate in the UK due to being flagged as a Covid contact case after a flight. 

This is catching many people by surprise as on August 16 the UK government exempted fully vaccinated people from the 10-day self-isolation requirement imposed on the close contacts of a confirmed coronavirus case. 

However, Covid isolation regulations for England state that a person is only seen as fully vaccinated for contact tracing purposes if their “course of doses was administered... in the United Kingdom”. 

Fully vaccinated people travelling from France to the UK must take a Covid test on or before day two of arrival in the UK. If a passenger’s day two test comes back positive, then that person’s close contact will be notified, including those who were sitting nearby on the same flight as the passenger.

The UK government states that: “Crew should accurately identify passengers located within two seats in each direction [to the side, front and back] of symptomatic passenger / passenger group during the flight to ensure accurate post-flight contact tracing.”

And if a person contacted because of this situation has been vaccinated abroad, then they will be expected to quarantine in the UK.

Travelling in the other direction, from the UK to France, this situation is far less likely to occur, as France does not demand fully vaccinated travellers to take a Covid test within days of arriving in the country. 

Authorities may randomly ask non-vaccinated passengers to take a Covid test on arrival, however there are unlikely to be many non-vaccinated travellers as they need an essential reason for travelling from the UK to France.

Like in the UK, fully vaccinated people in France do not need to self-isolate if flagged as having been in contact with someone positive with Covid. 

The French government does not specify whether a foreign vaccination certificate will be accepted under its contact tracing system. 

However, France does accept UK vaccination certificates for travel and as part of its health pass (pass sanitaire) scheme. UK vaccination certificates can also be uploaded to France’s Covid app Tous Anti Covid, and the QR codes on UK certificates can be read by the country’s certificate verification system, Tous Anti Covid Verif. 

This means that it is highly probable that French authorities will accept a UK vaccination certificate as part of its contact tracing procedures, and that people fully vaccinated in the UK will not need to self-isolate if they are flagged as a contact case in France.

France’s contact case rules

If you are notified, either by a person you know or France’s health insurance service Assurance maladie, that you have been in contact with a person positive for Covid, you should:

  • Get a rapid antigen test as soon as possible and inform people you have been in contact with recently of your status - Read about where to get a Covid test in France as a tourist here

  • If your test result is positive, self-isolate for 10 days

  • If your test result is negative, you do not need to self-isolate, but it is recommended that you respect social distancing measures with everyone around you for one week. You will then have to do another Covid test after one week to check if you are positive.

You can find out more information about what to do if you are a Covid contact case here.

Related stories:

Which Covid vaccines are accepted for entry into France?

Covid-19: Rules for travel to and from France

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