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

People who had their second dose more than seven months ago but have not had a booster will see their health pass expire. Today also sees the start of vaccination for vulnerable five to 11-year-olds

The criteria for obtaining a health pass if you are over 65 is changing today Pic: BreizhAtao / Shutterstock

The French health passes of vaccinated over-65s will become invalid today for people who received their second dose more than seven months ago and have not yet had a Covid booster vaccine. 

Read more: Covid boosters and French health passes: what changes this week?

This also applies to people who were injected with the single dose Janssen jab more than two months ago and have not been for an extra dose. 

So, if you had your second dose on May 6 but have not yet had a third, your health pass will no longer be valid from today. This would also be the case if, for example, you had the Janssen vaccine on October 10 without receiving the booster since. 

Some 400,000 over-65s could be affected by this change. Many have struggled to find a vaccination appointment following the extension of the booster campaign to all adults in France. 

Pharmacies have reported being overwhelmed with demand for booster appointments, their staff having to divide their time between vaccinations, testing and other services.

Read more: Lateral flow tests France: Shortages at pharmacies as demand rises

However, those who have not yet been able to find a slot and whose health pass expires today will be prioritised and will be able to get their vaccination without an appointment, Health Minister Olivier Véran has said. 

You will only be at risk of losing your health pass if you are over 65 years of age, you received your second dose more than seven months ago and you have not yet had your booster. 

However, this rule will be extended to all adults in France on January 15.

Expired health passes will not be permanently deleted and should reactivate as soon as you upload your booster dose QR code. 

In France, people become eligible for a booster jab five months after receiving their second vaccine dose, giving them two months to organise another vaccination appointment before their health pass expires. 

People vaccinated with Janssen can receive a booster four weeks after their first vaccine dose, giving them an additional month in which to get it before their pass is invalidated. 

If you do not know when you had your last vaccine dose, you can use the ‘Mon rappel vaccin Covid’ tool on the Assurance maladie website. Here you will see the deadline for receiving your booster. The TousAntiCovid app also has a new alert function which will tell you when your health pass is approaching its expiry date.

Vaccination campaign begins for vulnerable five to 11-year-olds 

Today also marks the beginning of the Covid vaccination programme for vulnerable five to 11-year-olds who are at risk of developing serious forms of the virus.

France’s health service quality regulator, the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) has judged that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks for children in this age group who have health conditions such as congenital heart disease, severe asthma, diseases of the liver or kidneys, obesity, diabetes or Down’s Syndrome. 

Children living with a person who is immunosuppressed are also eligible for vaccination if they can show that someone in their family is particularly vulnerable to Covid. 

This extension of the vaccination campaign concerns around 400,000 five to 11-year-olds. 

These children will receive two injections of Pfizer whose dosage will be three times smaller than that given to adults, “but still as effective.” The doses can be administered three weeks apart. 

There will be no need to obtain a prescription from a doctor, but the child’s GP or paediatrician should be the one to administer the injection. 

The French government is also eager to vaccinate the rest of the five to 11-year-old population but is awaiting the advice of HAS and other health authorities. 

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