Will my French health pass become invalid if I refuse my booster dose?

Having the Covid booster vaccine dose is not currently necessary for the creation of a health pass, but there is potential for this to change 

20 October 2021

People who are eligible for the Covid booster jab are not currently obliged to have it in order to access their health pass Pic: Rido / Shutterstock

By Emma Morgan

I’ve had my two doses but I think I’ve had enough vaccines for now. What happens to my health pass if I refuse a third dose?

At present, the injection of a booster Covid vaccine dose generates a new QR code which can be uploaded to the TousAntiCovid app and stored alongside a person’s original vaccine certificate code. 

Both QR codes can be used as a health pass and the booster dose does not invalidate the certificates which come before it. 

However, the French government is considering the possibility of making a third (or second in the case of the single-dose Janssen jab) vaccine dose obligatory for eligible groups. 

Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that the booster could become an essential component of health passes if infection rates rise like they have this week in departments including Lozère. 

Read more: Covid France: Cases rise in Lozère in south, health pass law discussed

Read more: Covid France: Weekly case numbers show 11% rise

This decision would, however, depend on the advice of France’s health service quality regulator, Haute Autorité de santé (HAS). 

“The conditions for accessing a health pass are set by HAS,” Mr Castex said. “It is therefore up to HAS to tell us whether or not we should limit eligibility for the pass to those who have had a third dose.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s office told BFMTV that: “The idea of suspending health pass validity until [eligible people have had] a third dose is going to be considered by the President and the Prime Minister. 

“If they approve it, it will only come into force on the recommendation of HAS and the Conseil scientifique.”

“This is a position which is more political than scientific,” HAS’ infectious diseases expert Jean-Daniel Lelièvre told BFMTV. 

“If the government seeks our advice we will provide a response but personally I do not believe it is our role to make a judgement on the issue.” 

Professor Yves Buisson, who leads the Académie nationale de médecine team dedicated to the Covid pandemic, believes that extending health pass criteria to include booster doses is a “bad idea.”

“This booster dose is important for reinforcing the immunity of these people, but it has not demonstrated any considerable epidemiological importance,” he said. 

“If the idea is to invalidate the health passes of people who have received two doses on the pretext that they refuse to or have not yet received their booster, it is a bad idea.

“It would be better to encourage people who are not already vaccinated to do so. That would be more effective than nagging [vaccinated] people.” 

“Having two doses is good,” although “two doses plus a booster is better.” 

Who is currently eligible for the booster jab?

An additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently available for people who: 

  • Are over 65
  • Are a care home resident 
  • Are immunosuppressed (as well as the people with whom they live or have regular close contact) 
  • Have a health condition which puts them at risk of serious illness with Covid 
  • Were originally injected with the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine
  • Are healthcare workers, carers, drivers of healthcare related transports, firefighters or home help workers. 

The booster should be administered at least six months after the second, or four weeks after the first in the case of the Janssen vaccine. 

Related stories 

Obligatory Covid vaccines for all in France? Senators demand change

France extends list of who qualifies for Covid booster jab

Why France is no longer using Moderna for Covid booster jabs

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