Adolescents over the age of 12 years and two months will from today (September 30) have to present a valid health pass in order to access a range of public spaces in France.
This includes restaurants, cafés, museums, sports facilities and long distance transport as well as cultural venues such as museums which might form part of school trips.
A health pass can consist of:
- Proof that the individual was fully vaccinated at least seven days before
- Proof of a negative PCR or antigen test result within the last 72 hours
- Proof that the individual had and recovered from Covid-19 within the last six months.
The health pass requirement was initially meant to apply to all children from the age of 12, but the start date was put back to give them the chance to get both vaccine doses before having to show their pass.
Around 5 million adolescents are thought to be affected by the extended rules, 64% of which are already fully vaccinated and a further 8% have received their first dose.
There are therefore 1.4 million non-fully vaccinated 12 to 17-year-olds, who can obtain a health pass by taking a PCR or antigen test or by proving a recent recovery from Covid.
Covid tests will become payable for adults in France from October 15, but under-18s will still be able to access them for free.
When the schools returned at the beginning of September, the government launched an in-school vaccination programme in the hope of encouraging young people to get vaccinated.
However, less than 30,000 doses were administered, with the Health Ministry saying that “there are sometimes [...] difficulties in getting families on board.”
Children aged 12-15 must have the consent of one parent or guardian before receiving the Covid vaccine, while those aged 16 and over can decide for themselves.
Health passes for school trips
Health passes are not necessary to go to school, but since they are required for entry into establishments such as cinemas and museums, adolescents will often need one if they wish to take part in certain school trips.
However, students will not have to show their pass in these venues if they have been reserved exclusively for the school party and there are no other members of the public present.
Health passes are also required in gyms and swimming pools and so will be required for sports lessons taking place outside of school, although they will only need to be presented once.