Must I pay for Covid tests in France even if I cannot get vaccinated?

Tests became payable for unvaccinated people on October 15 but there are exceptions

26 October 2021

Covid tests became payable in certain situations on October 15 Pic: nito / Shutterstock

By Emma Morgan

Reader question: I have a medical condition which means that I cannot have the Covid vaccine. Do I still have to pay for Covid tests?

People with medical contraindications preventing them from receiving the Covid vaccine can still access tests for free. 

Most unvaccinated adults have since October 15 had to pay for all tests unless they have a doctor’s prescription from the last 48 hours, they have been identified as a close contact of a Covid case or they have a certificat de rétablissement showing that they have recovered from the virus within the last six months. 

Read more: Covid tests in France: Who has to pay from today and how much?

Vaccinated adults carrying out Covid tests will still be reimbursed by the Assurance maladie when taking tests for medical reasons, with or without a prescription. 

This also extends to people who cannot be vaccinated, as detailed on the government website. 

In such a case, the person must present a letter from their doctor attesting to their contraindication in order to access free tests. 

What are the contraindications? 

The official list of people who are medically exempt from getting a Covid vaccination is limited.

It includes people:

  • With a history of documented allergy (confirmed by an allergist) to one of the components of the vaccine, in particular polyethylene glycols, and at risk of cross-allergy to polysorbates

  • Who had a severe anaphylaxis reaction (at least two organs affected) to a first injection of a Covid vaccine, confirmed by a medical professional

  • Who have previously experienced episodes of systemic capillary leak syndrome

  • Who have a recommendation, based on multidisciplinary medical consultation, not to get a second dose of a Covid vaccine following the occurrence of a severe adverse reaction attributed specifically to the first dose of the vaccine - this could be myocarditis or Guillain-Barré syndrome, for example

  • Who are being treated with anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies

  • Who have had myocarditis or pericarditis prior to vaccination, which they are still at risk of

  • Children who have had post-Covid multisystem inflammatory syndrome 

How much do Covid tests cost? 

The government has suggested a fee of €43.89 for PCR tests carried out by medical laboratories. The prices may vary depending on the lab.

For a rapid antigen test (lateral flow), the government has set the suggested price for pharmacies at €25.01 from Monday to Saturday and €30.01 on Sundays.

It recommends a price of €22.02 at medical laboratories, and €45.11 at doctor’s surgeries.

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

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