Who gets a Covid vaccine booster shot in France

France has begun administering booster shots of the Covid vaccine to some groups, while others are still waiting. Here's the latest on whether you qualify for an extra shot.

Covid vaccine boosters in France are only available to certain groups
Covid vaccine boosters in France are only available to certain groups. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP

Who qualifies for a booster now?

France began its booster shot programme in September, but only for certain groups. At present to qualify you must be either;

  • Either aged over 65
  • Suffering from a medical condition that puts you at higher risk from Covid. This includes conditions like obesity, diabetes or asthma, you can find full details here 
  • A health worker or domestic carer
  • A close contact of someone who is immunodeprived
  • Have had the single-dose Johnson a Johnson (Janssen) vaccine

You also need to have had your last dose at least six months ago.

From December 1st, 2021, anyone aged 50 to 64, who had their most recent dose of Covid-19 vaccine at least six months previously can also get a booster dose. Appointments for vaccinations in December are open on medical platforms including Doctolib. 

People who contracted Covid after their first or second dose do not need a booster dose, the HAS has ruled. In France, people who had previously had Covid get just one dose of the vaccine and are counted as ‘fully vaccinated’ for travel or health passport purposes (although not all countries recognise this for travel purposes) 

If you meet those criteria there is no need to wait for an invitation, you can book your appointment directly either by phone, online or via the Doctolib app.

READ ALSO How to book an appointment for the Covid vaccine

From December 1st

From December 1st this group will be expanded to include all over 50s. Booking is now open for this group to make their appointments on or after December 1st.

From December 15th

From December 15th, health passes will begin to be deactivated for over 65s who are eligible for a booster shot but have not taken up the offer – full details here.


France uses the Pfizer vaccine for booster shots, although the medical regulator HAS has advised that Moderna can also be used, but only for over 30s.

What about everyone else?

At present, most other groups cannot have an extra dose.

Will that change?

It might, yes. The European Medicines Agency now recommends a booster shot for all adults, not just the most vulnerable. 

The EMA’s opinion is advisory and it will be up to the French government to decide whether to expand the booster programme further, once the over 50s become eligible.

If this is the case it is likely that the six-month gap will remain in place, meaning that people who were vaccinated in May or June – when vaccinations opened up to everyone – would not be eligible until the end of the year or early 2022.

The French medical regulator Haute Autorite de santé has so far not given its opinion on this, although a previous statement from September did lean towards boosters for all, saying that the decline in the effectiveness of vaccines over time “does not only affect the elderly and populations at risk of severe forms”, even if these populations “remain the most affected”. 

Combined with flu shots?

The HAS has already given its approval to the idea of giving the Covid vaccine booster and the flu shot in a single appointment, for those who are eligible, and it seems likely that combined appointments will become available when the flu vaccine programme is rolled out from October 26th.

READ ALSO What you need to know about the 2021 flu vaccination programme 

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Italy’s constitutional court upholds Covid vaccine mandate as fines kick in

Judges on Thursday dismissed legal challenges to Italy's vaccine mandate as "inadmissible” and “unfounded”, as 1.9 million people face fines for refusing the jab.

Italy's constitutional court upholds Covid vaccine mandate as fines kick in

Judges were asked this week to determine whether or not vaccine mandates introduced by the previous government during the pandemic – which applied to healthcare and school staff as well as over-50s – breached the fundamental rights set out by Italy’s constitution.

Italy became the first country in Europe to make it obligatory for healthcare workers to be vaccinated, ruling in 2021 that they must have the jab or be transferred to other roles or suspended without pay.

The Constitutional Court upheld the law in a ruling published on Thursday, saying it considered the government’s requirement for healthcare personnel to be vaccinated during the pandemic period neither unreasonable nor disproportionate.

Judges ruled other questions around the issue as inadmissible “for procedural reasons”, according to a court statement published on Thursday.

This was the first time the Italian Constitutional Court had ruled on the issue, after several regional courts previously dismissed challenges to the vaccine obligation on constitutional grounds.

A patient being administered a Covid jab.

Photo by Pascal GUYOT / AFP

One Lazio regional administrative court ruled in March 2022 that the question of constitutional compatibility was “manifestly unfounded”.

Such appeals usually centre on the question of whether the vaccine requirement can be justified in order to protect the ‘right to health’ as enshrined in the Italian Constitution.

READ ALSO: Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Meanwhile, fines kicked in from Thursday, December 1st, for almost two million people in Italy who were required to get vaccinated under the mandate but refused.

This includes teachers, law enforcement and healthcare workers, and the over 50s, who face fines of 100 euros each under rules introduced in 2021.

Thursday was the deadline to justify non-compliance with the vaccination mandate due to health reasons, such as having contracted Covid during that period.

Italy’s health minister on Friday however appeared to suggest that the new government may choose not to enforce the fines.

“It could cost more for the state to collect the fines” than the resulting income, Health Minister Orazio Schillaci told Radio Rai 1.

He went on to say that it was a matter for the Economy and Finance Ministry, but suggested that the government was drawing up an amendment to the existing law.

READ ALSO: Covid vaccines halved Italy’s death toll, study finds

The League, one of the parties which comprises the new hard-right government, is pushing for fines for over-50s to be postponed until June 30th 2023.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni had promised a clear break with her predecessor’s health policies, after her Brothers of Italy party railed against the way Mario Draghi’s government handled the pandemic in 2021 when it was in opposition.

At the end of October, shortly after taking office, the new government allowed doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to return to work earlier than planned after being suspended for refusing the Covid vaccine.

There has been uncertainty about the new government’s stance after the deputy health minister in November cast doubt on the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, saying he was “not for or against” vaccination.

Italy’s health ministry continues to advise people in at-risk groups to get a booster jab this winter, and this week stressed in social media posts that vaccination against Covid-19 and seasonal flu remained “the most effective way to protect ourselves and our loved ones, especially the elderly and frail”.