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EXPLAINED: What people vaccinated with Covishield need to know about travel to France

France announced on Saturday that people who receive the Covishield injection, the version of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine manufactured in India, will be allowed to enter the country without quarantining. Here's what they need to consider before travelling to France.

EXPLAINED: What people vaccinated with Covishield need to know about travel to France
Photo: Ian LANGSDON / POOL / AFP.

The Covishield vaccine is mainly used in India and Africa, but is also widely administered in the UK. Here’s everything you need to know about travelling to France if you have received the Covishield jab.

What’s the latest?

France will now accept the Covishield vaccine for travel purposes, as well as for use with the country’s health pass, which will soon be necessary for everyday activities such as going to the cinema or eating at a restaurant, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Saturday July 17th.

Covishield is the version of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced under licence by the Serum Institute in India. It is made to the same specifications as Vaxzevria, the version produced in Europe, but is not currently approved by the European Medicines Agency.

The UK and Indian governments had been putting pressure on the EU to recognise the jab. Several European countries already allowed visitors vaccinated with Covishield, including Germany and Spain. But as The Local reported earlier this month, France previously considered travellers from the UK, India and Africa who received the Covishield jab to be “unvaccinated”.

From Sunday July 18th, they will be treated the same as those who received a Pfizer/Comirnaty, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or AstraZeneca/Vaxzevria injections.

What are the requirements for travel for people vaccinated with Covishield?

Castex also announced on Saturday that France was lifting all restrictions for vaccinated travellers. Whatever the country of departure, proof of vaccination means there is no need to show an essential reason for travel, a negative Covid test, or to observe a quarantine period.

READ ALSO Unvaccinated travellers to France from UK must show 24-hour test from Sunday

The statement said the exemption was in place because “vaccines are effective against the virus, and in particular its variant Delta”.

“We nonetheless strongly advise against travel from France to countries on the “red” list,” the website for France’s foreign ministry states.

Non-vaccinated travellers from “red zone” countries including India must have an essential reason for travel, take a test before and after travelling, and quarantine for ten days on arrival.

What does my vaccine certificate need to show?

France will now consider people fully vaccinated one week after they received their second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, including Covishield, instead of 14 days previously, and 28 days after their Johnson & Johnson jab.

In order to travel to France, you will need to show your vaccine certificate at the border. This needs to be a certificate from the issuing health authority that complies to EU or WHO standards – showing the person’s details, date of vaccination, type of vaccine used and a batch number – and can be presented either on paper or in a digital format.

Can I use the French health pass?

Once you have arrived in France, your vaccination certificate should also allow you to access establishments such as museums, bars, restaurants, as well as long-distance train and bus travel.

CALENDAR: The key dates to know as France tightens Covid restrictions

France has announced that Covishield can now be used for the health pass which must be shown to enter many leisure and cultural venues.

French residents can upload their vaccination certificate to the TousAntiCovid app, but it is more difficult for people vaccinated outside of the EU. Those coming from the UK can present an NHS Covid Pass instead.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal recently said there would be a ‘relaxation’ of the rules for people vaccinated outside the EU who cannot easily use the French health passport, and more information should be provided by July 21st, when the pass is extended to leisure and cultural venues hosting more than 50 people.

You can read our tourists’ guide to using France’s health pass HERE.

Member comments

  1. That is for ones good news, you return from any country without needing negative covid tests if vaccinated, now the next step should be that vaccinated people can choose or they want to wear masks. In anticipation I cut out two layers already, my mask is now a sinle layer summer mask now, lol.

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TRAVEL NEWS

How you to save money travelling by train in France

Travelling by train is one of the best ways to see France, as well as being better for the planet than flying or driving. However, train tickets don't always come cheap - here is a current list of the railcards and offers that can cut the cost.

How you to save money travelling by train in France

Railcards are the most common way to cut the cost of a ticket. In some cases, the card can even pay for itself in one journey. France’s rail operator SNCF has a range of cards available for everyone from impoverished students to regular business travellers with an expenses account to burn.

But if you’re not a regular traveller there are also a range of offers plus cheaper services to opt for.

READ ALSO Millions of train tickets go on sale in France for Christmas holidays

Liberté card

This one’s really for business travellers, who use the TGV or Ouigo and Intercite trains regularly. And it comes with a price to match – €399 for a year (€379 for anyone lucky enough to work for a company that is part of SNCF’s Contrat Pro plan). 

Holders can enjoy fixed, destination-based fares for business travel in France and beyond, with a card that guarantees cardholders 60 percent off SNCF’s Business Première fares when travelling standard class, and 45 percent off Business Première fares when travelling 1st class. 

Plus, there’s 30 percent off for you and an accompanying adult plus 60 percent off for accompanying children with SNCF’S Avantage fare.

Max Senior

Regular rail travellers aged 60 and over, who use TGV, InOui or Intercite trains at least twice a month can take advantage of this €79-per-month railcard that covers the cost of all standard-class travel outside peak hours from Monday to Friday.

The card is valid for all routes in France and to Luxembourg and Freiburg im Breisgau. You can use the card to book tickets from 30 days before departure right up to the last minute.

READ ALSO Yes, train travel from France across Europe is far better than flying – even with kids

Avantage Senior

Those aged 60 and over who travel by rail less regularly can buy a €49 Avantage Senior card that offers 30 percent discounts on first and standard-class travel on TGV INOUI, Intercités or TER trains for a year.

It also offers a 60 percent discount on tickets for up to three accompanying children aged between 4 and 11.

Standard class fares are capped for all destinations in France, no matter when they are booked – at €39 for a journey of less than 90 minutes, €59 for a journey of between 90 minutes and three hours, and €79 for journeys over three hours.

Max Jeune

A similar offer to the Max Senior deal is available for regular rail users aged between 16 and 27 who use TGV, InOui or Intercite trains at least twice a month. This key difference is that this €79-per-month railcard covers the cost of all standard-class travel outside peak hours seven days a week.

The card is valid for all routes in France and to Luxembourg and Freiburg im Breisgau. You can use the card to book tickets from 30 days before departure right up to the last minute.

READ ALSO UPDATED: The best websites for cross-Europe train travel

Avantage Jeune

Those aged 12 to 27 who travel by rail less regularly can buy a €49 Avantage Jeune card that offers 30 percent discounts on first and standard-class travel on TGV INOUI, Intercités or TER trains for a year.

Standard class fares are capped for all destinations in France, no matter when they are booked – at €39 for a journey of less than 90 minutes, €59 for a journey of between 90 minutes and three hours, and €79 for journeys over three hours.

Max Actif and Max Actif+

The Mon Forfait Annuel Télétravail pass is basically a season ticket, but for people who don’t travel every day. It’s ideal for part-time or remote workers, but can be used by anyone who has semi-regular train trips. 

Anyone who travels between two and three times a week on the same route can buy a Max Actif pass and travel 250 or times on the same line all year, weekdays only. The Max Actif + is basically the same, but for people who travel four to five times a week, and gives 450 journeys with no weekday limit.

Prices vary depending on the route you travel – full details are here

Weekly or monthly rail cards

Speaking of season tickets, you can also buy first or standard class rail cards that last a month or a week that allow unlimited daily travel, and tickets for €1.50 or less (via SNCF Connect or Trainline) for single or national routes.

Avantage Adult

For anyone aged between 27 and 59, a €49 Avantage Adulte card offers 30 percent discounts on first and standard-class travel on TGV INOUI, Intercités or TER trains for a year.

It also offers a 60 percent discount on tickets for up to three accompanying children aged between 4 and 11.

Standard class fares are capped for all destinations in France, no matter when they are booked – at €39 for a journey of less than 90 minutes, €59 for a journey of between 90 minutes and three hours, and €79 for journeys over three hours.

For more information on railcards available in France, click here

READ ALSO Tourists and locals: Paris Metro tickets, passes and apps explained

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