Reader Question: I live in the UK and have had two Covid vaccine injections and Covid itself. Can I come to France under ‘fully vaccinated’ rules?
It is important to note that France’s definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ differs depending on whether it is related to travel to the country - or to the use of a domestic vaccine pass.
France recently announced that all vaccinated adult travellers entering the country – and not just those from other EU countries – need to have a booster dose within nine months of their second dose in order to maintain their ‘fully vaccinated’ status.
Read more: Covid booster dose requirement extends to all travellers to France
It followed new rules introduced on February 1 surrounding the EU Digital Covid Certificate which required travellers within the EU to get a booster within 270 days (almost nine months) of their second vaccine dose in order to prevent their vaccination certificate proof from expiring.
France’s interior ministry has a notice on its website stating that: “In order to be considered fully vaccinated, persons aged 18 and one month or over wishing to enter national territory must have received a complementary dose of an mRNA vaccine [Pfizer or Moderna] no later than nine months following the injection of the last required dose.”
There is no mention of certificates of recovery from Covid being accepted as an alternative to a booster dose in relation to Covid status proof for entry into France.
So, if you have had two vaccine doses within the last nine months you will count as ‘fully vaccinated’, but if more than 270 days have passed, you will not.
Vaccine pass rules for once you are in France
Once you arrive in France, the rules around what counts as ‘fully vaccinated’ change.
In order to gain access to many public spaces including restaurants, bars, cafés, ski lifts, museums, cinemas and theatres, you will need to present a vaccine pass. This is not a new document but proof of your Covid vaccination status.
Read more: Checklist: Where are vaccine passes required in France?
Health Minister Olivier Véran announced last week that “an injection” will now be equal to “an infection” under the pass rules.
This means that people who have had two jabs and caught Covid once, or who have had one jab and caught Covid twice, will be able to obtain vaccine passes without an expiry date.
Read more: French vaccine pass: third dose not needed if had two jabs and Covid
“The scientists tell us that in order to benefit from the pass, you must have been exposed at least three times, your immune system must have been targeted at least three times,” he said.
“This stimulation can come from an injection or an infection and you must have had at least one vaccine dose.” So, it will not be possible to get a vaccine pass on the basis of having had Covid three times.
“You will retain your right to a vaccine pass if you have had one injection and two infections, two injections and one infection, or three injections.”
Until now, people have needed to have three vaccine doses within a certain time frame in order to prevent their passes from expiring.
Even those who had had two vaccine doses and then been infected with Covid could only use their certificate of recovery for six months (and four months from February 15) before they needed to get a further vaccine dose.
So, if you are double-jabbed and have had Covid in the past, you should be able to get a vaccine pass using your vaccination and infection records.
If you are coming from the UK, this will probably be easier if you had Covid more recently, because your positive result will be saved along with your vaccination records in the NHS app as a QR code which can be uploaded to France’s TousAntiCovid vaccine pass app.
These QR codes can be added to an iPhone wallet, downloaded as a PDF or emailed to you to be printed off. If you download and open the TousAntiCovid app you will then be able to scan the codes to create your pass.
Positive test results issued in other non-EU countries including the US are not compatible with France’s TousAntiCovid app and cannot be used as proof of Covid status.
France’s vaccine pass launches: How and where is it being used?
How to get a Covid recovery certificate in France and as a tourist?