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COVID-19

France recommends Covid booster jab 3 months after initial vaccines

France on Friday recommended that adults receive a Covid-19 booster vaccination three months after their initial jabs, reducing the guideline of five months to better fight the Omicron variant.

Covid-19 vaccine
A health worker prepares a dose of Moderna Covid-19 booster vaccine at the Toulouse's exhibition centre used as a vaccination centre in Toulouse, on December 9th, 2021. Photo: Georges Gobet / AFP

The recommendation was published by the country’s HAS health authority, which advises the government in the fight against Covid-19.

It comes as cases are surging in France during the Christmas period due to Omicron which spreads faster than any other variant seen so far.

The HAS also recommended that the booster rollout be expanded to now include teenagers who are deemed to be at risk, days after France opened up the vaccination rollout to children aged five and over.

READ ALSO: France opens up Covid vaccinations for all 5 to 11 year-olds

It justified the cut to three months by citing studies showing that vaccines are 80 percent effective for one-to-two months against the non serious symptomatic forms of the Omicron variant, but lose their effectiveness more quickly than with the previous variants.

The effectiveness falls to just 34 percent four months after vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine but the efficacy rose to 75 percent two weeks after a booster dose, it said.

France on Thursday recorded 91,608 positive Covid cases, a record since the start of the pandemic, exceeding the previous high seen in November 2020. However record numbers of tests are being carried out with 6.2 million in the past week.

Unlike some other European countries, President Emmanuel Macron has so far resisted imposing major new restrictions to battle the Omicron variant, hoping that the booster programme will prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.

Member comments

  1. 4 months ? 3 months ? What’s the difference ? I qualify for a booster either way but still can’t get it til after 3 Jan. ( or has that now changed and no one’s mentioned it ?

      1. When the gap was first reduced to 4 months, the Local said the change would take effect from 3 Jan. now they’re saying nothing about when effective from.

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COVID-19

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

In France, masks will no longer be required on indoor transport as of Monday, May 16th. Here are rules and recommendations that are still in place:

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

Members of the public in France have been asked to wear face masks for the most part of two years, at times even outside in the street.

Since March 14th, 2022, the facial coverings have no longer been mandatory in most establishments such as shops, and as of Monday, May 16th, it will no longer be mandatory on indoor public transport. 

As of May 16th, you will therefore no longer be required to wear a mask in the following transports:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Subways and streetcars
  • RER and TER
  • TGV and interregional lines
  • Taxis

Regarding airplanes whether or not you must wear a mask is a bit more complicated.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that from May 16th onward it would no longer be required to wear a mask in airports and on board aircraft in the European Union. However, Germany has stated that it does not have the intention of lifting its requirement of wearing a mask on its airlines – this would include the Lufthansa airline. Thus, it will be necessary for passengers to still very to rules each airline has in place, which could be the case when travelling to a country that still has indoor mask requirements in place.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky specified that vulnerable people should continue to wear masks, and that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure those seated nearby.”

Masks still obligatory in medical settings

However, it will still be mandatory for caregivers, patients and visitors in health care facilities, specifically including hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, retirement homes, and establishments for the disabled. 

For people who are vulnerable either due to their age or their status as immunocompromised, wearing a mask will continue to be recommended, though not required, particularly for enclosed spaces and in large gatherings.

Masks are also still recommended for people who test positive, people who might have come in contact with Covid-19, symptomatic people and healthcare professionals.

Will masks come back?

It is possible. French Health Minister Olivier Véran does not exclude the return of mandatory mask-wearing, should the health situation require it.

What are the other Covid-19 restrictions that remain in place?

The primary restriction that has not changed is the French government’s regulation for testing positive: If you are unvaccinated and test positive, isolation is still required for 10 days, if you are vaccinated, this requirement is seven days. Isolation can be reduced from 10 to 7 days or from 7 to 5 days if a negative covid test is performed, and symptoms are no longer present.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

The French Health Ministry still recommends following sanitary measures such as: wearing a mask in places where it is still mandatory, hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and using a single-use handkerchief (tissue).

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