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Covid boosters, vaccine passes: What changes in France on January 15?

All adults will soon be required to have a booster shot to keep using their health passes. We explain how this works and what could change if vaccine passes are introduced

France shortened the time period that people have to wait to receive their booster doses from four months to three months earlier this week Pic: KT Stock photos / Shutterstock

From January 15, all adults (aged 18 and over) in France who received their second vaccine dose over seven months ago are required to have a booster shot to continue using their vaccination certificate as part of their health pass. 

This also applies to people who tested positive for Covid over seven months ago after having had one vaccine dose, or people who had one vaccine dose after having had Covid. 

This rule was introduced for all people aged 65 and over on December 15. 

Read more: French health pass: Booster jab requirement for over-65s starts today

This rule does not affect children aged 12 to 17. However, children of this age who are immunocompromised or are at high-risk of serious forms of Covid can receive a booster shot (without any effect to their health passes). 

Booster doses after three months (no change to seven-month rule)

France shortened the time period that people have to wait to receive their booster doses from four months to three months earlier this week. 

Read more: France announces 11 new anti-Covid measures

However, this does not alter the rule that people have up to seven months and two days after their second dose to get their booster shot to keep their health pass active.

Read more: Six questions on France’s new anti-Covid measures answered

The change means only that people can choose to get their booster shot one month earlier, if they wish. 

For example, if a person received their second dose on October 12, they can have their booster as early as January 12. However, they have until May 14 for their health pass to become invalid due to lack of a booster. 

Vaccine passes

The government is currently seeking to replace the health pass with a vaccine pass, which it hopes to have in place by January 15. The bill containing this legislation must still be voted on in parliament, and so the precise details could still change. 

If adopted, the vaccine pass will be required to enter the majority of public spaces, leisure activities and interregional transport services - as is currently the case for health passes. 

However, it will mean that a person must be vaccinated against Covid to access these places and services, with a negative Covid test no longer sufficient. 

Under the bill presented, the vaccine pass would be mandatory for everyone aged 12 and over. 

It remains unclear whether three vaccine doses will be required to have a vaccine pass, or if two doses (with the second less than seven months prior) will still be sufficient.

For children aged 12 to 17 who cannot yet receive a booster dose, it would be improbable that they would need three doses to get a vaccine pass. 

The government has suggested that a person with one Covid vaccine dose can use a negative Covid test to get a valid vaccine pass. 

The bill will go through France’s two houses of parliament, with a vote in the senate scheduled for January 5. 

Related stories:

Seven Q&As: where, when and how would France’s vaccine pass plan work

Covid France: over 208,000 new cases recorded in last 24 hours

More cases, fewer deaths: How France’s 5th Covid wave compares so far

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