President Emmanuel Macron’s speech on Tuesday (November 9) has provoked an intensification of France’s Covid booster campaign, as the jab will gradually become a compulsory element of the health passes for over-65s from December 15.
From this date, anyone in this age group who received their second dose at least six months and five weeks before must have had their booster in order to retain their pass.
If not, it will be deactivated and the person in question will no longer be able to use it to enter spaces where the health pass is required, such as bars and restaurants.
However, if by December 15, six months and five weeks have not passed since your second dose, you will still be able to use your health pass as usual as long as you receive your booster within the required timeframe.
A record 100,000 people in France booked their Covid booster appointments in the hour after President Macron detailed this change, and then a further 214,000 arranged their slot yesterday (November 10).
Around 3.4 million of the 7.7 million people eligible for the booster jab have so far received it, including 2.7 million over-65s, meaning that 55% of those belonging to priority groups have not yet been for the additional injection.
France is currently offering booster doses six months after the second dose to:
- People over 65
- Medical professionals
- People at risk of serious forms of Covid (including those with diabetes and obesity issues)
- People who are severely immunocompromised together with their close friends and family
- People who received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine are eligible to receive a booster vaccine dose in France (four weeks after the first dose)
Those with health conditions making them particularly vulnerable to Covid are ‘encouraged’ to receive a booster, although for the moment it will only be over-65s whose health passes will be conditioned upon this action.
This is because the pass shows an individual’s date of birth, meaning that if vulnerable people under 65 were obliged to receive a booster dose it may be obvious to anyone scanning their QR code that they had a certain health condition, compromising their patient confidentiality.
President Macron also announced that, from early December, 50 to 64-year-olds will also be offered an additional vaccine dose, although there will be no obligation – at least at first.
This age group covers 19.2% of the national population, equating to around 13 million people.
The President also used his speech to urge the unvaccinated to book their first or second dose.
So far, around 88% of over-18s and 87.2% of over-12s in France are fully vaccinated, according to statistics from the Health Ministry.
There are therefore around six million people who are yet to be vaccinated, and these unvaccinated individuals are particularly concentrated in certain age groups.
For example, 15% of over-80s are yet to receive both of their injections, despite the fact that elderly people are more vulnerable to the virus.
The percentage of the population which has so far received an additional vaccine dose sits at around 6.5%.