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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: How can I add a non-EU booster shot to my French health pass?

Booster shots are now required in order to have a valid health or vaccine pass in France, but is it possible to add booster shots received in the USA, Canada or other non-EU countries to the French health pass?

Vaccinations given outside the EU need to be converted to a French code.
Vaccinations given outside the EU need to be converted to a French code. Photo by SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Question: I’m Canadian and travelled to France over the summer, when I got a French health pass. I’ve since had my booster back in Canada but I can’t seem to add the booster shot to the French health pass, which means it will shortly deactivate. How do I keep the pass up to date?

France’s health pass – shortly to become a vaccine pass – works with vaccination certificates from any EU or Schengen zone country, or the UK.

However those who were vaccinated outside of Europe must convert their vaccination certificates to an EU-compatible code in order to use the French pass.

The system for how to do this has changed several times since health passes were introduced over the summer, and now requires a trip to a pharmacy in France – click HERE for the full details.

However there is a new wrinkle – booster shots are now required in order to keep the health pass activated and there is a timetable for deactivating the passes of people who are eligible for a booster shot but don’t get one – click here for the full schedule.

If you got your booster shot in France, the EU, Schengen zone or UK then adding the booster shot to the health pass is easy – just scan in the code on the certificate.

If, however, your booster was received in a non-EU country, you will need to take the booster shot certificate to a French pharmacy in order the get the QR code needed to upload it to the app.

If your pass deactivates before you can get back to France this is not a problem, simply uploading the new certificate code will reactivate it.

But how do you get into France in order to visit the pharmacy and get the code if your pass has already expired?

This is important – the booster shot requirement refers only to the domestic French health pass that you use to get into bars, cafés etc.

In order to enter the country no booster is currently required. You need only to show proof of two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna, or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).

At the border you can show your home country’s vaccination certificate (eg the Canadian certificate), there is no requirement to have the French QR code.

Once you’re in France, you then head to the pharmacy to get the code to give you access to France’s excellent restaurants, cafés and cultural venues. 

Member comments

  1. I know the French don’t care, but this system is an insult to frequent, loyal visitors to France who jumped through all of their hoops to get our original passes. Now we are boosted but must start from square one when we return (we visit 4 times per year).

  2. My booster appears as a 3rd QR code on my NHS England certificate. I scanned it on to my Tous Anti Covid app and it was accepted. (I also rescanned the old ones as it seems Tous Anti Covid has caught up with the fact that each NHS England certificate is only valid for 30 days at a time so, somewhat irritatingly, it is necessary generate new certificates and re-scan them)

  3. Nick 76- you are lucky to live in the U.K. and have the benefit of electronic vaccine records. Americans were given a flimsy paper record with no electronic interface possible. It’s a system that does not befit a first world nation, but that’s all we got. US people have gone to great lengths to obtain the Pass Sanitaire. It is now apparently easily obtainable at a French pharmacy, which many of us who navigated the former anxiety provoking process now appreciate. It’s much more straightforward. I can only wonder, with the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, how many of these restrictions for travelers are useful and how many are pure theater. The testing on both ends of a trip, particularly the return, are producing endless anxiety and curtailing travel, as Americans are fearful of being stranded overseas.
    Normality will not return until it truly does, and all of these measures (tests, passes, etc.) are eliminated.

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For members

READER QUESTIONS

Reader Question: Is there a Swedish equivalent of writing to your senator or MP?

A reader got in touch to ask whether there is a Swedish equivalent of writing to your senator or MP to protest, voice a political opinion, or raise a local issue. Here's how it works in Sweden.

Reader Question: Is there a Swedish equivalent of writing to your senator or MP?

People in Sweden do send letters to members of the Riksdag, Sweden’s parliament, but it doesn’t work in quite the same way as it does in the UK or the US.

Human rights organisations, pressure groups, and concerned individuals will frequently send individual letters or mount letter-writing campaigns to try to influence MPs on issues that concern them.

Sweden is a transparent society, so it is easy to obtain the contact details of MPs in the parliament. You can find emails for all 349 MPs here, or if you prefer to do it the old-fashioned way, you can simply pop your letter in an envelope and send it, with the MPs name at the top, to this address:

Sveriges riksdag,

100 12 Stockholm. 

For the human rights group Amnesty, for instance, writing letters to politicians is one of the main strategies. 

The big difference between writing to your MP in Sweden, and writing to an MP, Congressman, or Senator in the UK or the US, of course, is that MPs in Sweden do not represent a constituency in the same way. 

The UK has 650 constituencies, each with its own MP. Sweden, on the other hand, has 29, with the smallest, Gotland, having two MPs, and the largest, Stockholm, having 43. You can see a map of Sweden’s constituencies here

When citizens vote in general elections, they vote for a political party first, and only then vote for which of the party’s candidates they would most like to represent them, in so-called “personal preference voting”. 

The election authority then distributes the seats in each constituency to each party based on what share of the vote they got in that constituency. A further 39 adjustment seats, which are not tied to a constituency, are then distributed to make sure the number of MPs each party has in parliament reflects their share of the vote at a national level. 

READ ALSO: What are The Local’s reader questions? 

For the purposes of letter-writing, the important difference is that you do not have an MP in Sweden, but several, normally representing rival political parties. 

According to David Karlsson, a professor at Gothenburg University, who has written a paper on letters sent to MPs, most Swedes will have no idea who the MPs are who represent their constituency. 

“It’s very obvious and well-known in Britain who the MP is,” he points out. “Knowledge of who the local MP is in Sweden is very very low, very few people could name the MP elected from their constituency.” 

Another big difference is that MPs in Sweden tend to focus their attention more at the national level, and not to see their primary role as representing the interests of their local constituencies. They don’t hold “surgeries” in their local constituencies in the same way that MPs do in the UK, and are less likely to get involved in helping individual citizens solve local problems.  

Partly this is because what they need to do to get reelected is to retain the support of their local political party organisation, rather than the support of voters. Partly, its because MPs have very little power to influence their local municipalities and regions. 

“There is a big difference in how much [MPs in Sweden] can do. If people want help in their private, local cases, there is very little executive power in being an MP,” Karlsson says.  

As a result, people in Sweden are more likely to write letters to local municipal councillors or regional representatives, rather than to their MPs if they want help with personal problems and local issues. 

When Amnesty writes letters to MPs, they usually decide which MP to write to based on whether they are actively engaged in the issue at hand, or whether they sit on a certain committee, rather than on which constituency they represent. 

When Amnesty is campaigning on a local issue, however, they do sometimes still write letters to MPs based on the constituency where the issue is taking place. 

For instance, when a Romanian citizen living in Gävleborg was hit with heavy medical bills from the regional health authority because she had a baby in a local hospital without the required paperwork, Amnesty sent letters to MPs representing the constituency. 

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