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Do you need a Covid booster every nine months for travel to France?

We look at the French definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ with regards to international travel 

We look at the French definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ with regards to international travel Pic: A Lot of People / Shutterstock

Reader Question: I’m going through my usual last-minute checking of French entry requirements. The UK government website entry requirements say:"If more than 9 months have elapsed since your initial course, and you have not since received a booster, you will be considered unvaccinated and must follow the rules detailed below." 

Will we be allowed to travel if our booster was more than nine months ago? 

The UK is now on France’s green list for travel, and the French interior ministry states that people coming from green countries must either be fully vaccinated against Covid, take a pre-departure test or prove that they have had the virus in the last six months. 

The ministry website states: “Your vaccination course is considered complete 28 days after the administration of one dose of the [single-dose] Janssen vaccine, [or] seven days after the administration of a second dose for the other vaccines recognised by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Covishield). 

“From February 1, 2022, people aged 18 and over wishing to enter French territory must have received an extra dose of an mRNA vaccine [Pfizer or Moderna] no more than nine months after the injection of the last required dose so that their vaccination course continues to be recognised as complete.” 

This rule only relates to a third dose of the vaccine (or second in the case of Janssen); it is not mandatory to have any additional doses after this in order to be classed as fully vaccinated. 

France and the UK have offered further boosters to vulnerable groups since the first booster was rolled out, but these have always been optional. 

As long as you have received all required vaccine doses plus one extra, your vaccination record will show up as ‘3/3’ and you will be allowed to travel to France. The booster dose does not ‘expire’ in the same way as the initial vaccination course does.

It should also be remembered that if you do not count as fully vaccinated but have had Covid more than 11 days but less than six months ago, you may present the original positive test result for travel to France. 

If you carried out a UK PCR test when you had Covid, this result will be displayed in the form of a QR code in the NHS app, which also contains your vaccination records. 

If you have not had Covid, you can carry out a PCR test in the 72 hours before travel to France or an antigen test in the 48 hours before, and show the negative result to the travel authorities.

Related articles 

Coronavirus: Daily updates on the situation in France

Covid-19: Rules for travel to and from France

‘New Covid wave’ in France, says leading professor

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