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COVID-19 VACCINES

The French ‘concession’ to encourage unvaccinated to get their first dose

As the French government launches its vaccine pass, it also sets up a special concession aimed at encouraging the previously unvaccinated to get their first dose.

Unvaccinated people in France will benefit from access to their health pass if they get their first dose before February 15th.
Unvaccinated people in France will benefit from access to their health pass if they get their first dose before February 15th. (Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)

The goal of the vaccine pass has been clear from the beginning: to increase vaccination coverage among the French population. 

Currently 79 percent of the total population have had at least one dose of vaccine, while 93 percent of over 12s have had their first dose.

But as France introduced its vaccine pass – effectively barring the unvaccinated from a wide range of venues including bars, cafés, gyms and long-distance trains – there was a concessions aimed at people who are only now having their first dose. 

Those who get their first dose within the next month can use proof of a first dose coupled with a negative Covid test to access venues, rather that the usual double-dose requirement.

At a press conference last week, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said: “We are going to allow those who get their first dose between now and February 15th to use the vaccine pass under two conditions – that they get their second one month later and in between this period, that they use negative covid tests valid for 24 hours”. 

He described the vaccine pass as “a protective tool that allows [us] to boost first-time vaccinations”. 

Since the announcement in December that the health pass would become a vaccine pass, 1 million adults have had their first dose, he added.

Holding a valid vaccine pass – which anyone over the age of 16 now needs to gain access to various public venues like restaurants, cinemas and museums – is contingent on being fully vaccinated (including a booster if applicable), having proof of recent recovery from Covid, or having a certificate stating that you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons

READ MORE What changes on Monday as France introduces the vaccine pass?

READ MORE When is France lifting Covid restrictions?

While the vaccine pass applies to anyone of the age of 16, it is not currently required for students or teachers in high schools. 

If you are caught presenting a fake vaccine pass, or someone else’s vaccine pass, you have the option to have the €1,000 fine waived if you commit to getting vaccinated within the month.

How will this work? 

If you are unvaccinated and get your first shot on January 24th, you can scan the result of your test into the TousAntiCovid app and you will be able to access vaccine pass venues up until February 24th – if you take a negative covid test within 24 hours before you access the venue (this test result can also be scanned into the app). 

If you don’t own a smart phone or prefer not to use the app, you can also carry paper versions of your proof of vaccination and negative Covid test result. Proof of vaccination will either be given at the vaccination site, or if you have a carte vitale, you can also download it from ameli.fr – the French public health service website. Proof of a negative Covid test will normally be sent to you via email or SMS, with a link to the SI-DEP website

On February 24th, one month after receiving your first vaccination you would have to receive your second dose to carry on using the vaccine pass – but you will no longer need to keep taking negative covid test to access venues. 

You will then have four months to receive a third (booster) dose before your vaccine pass will be deactivated – as by then, the window in which you must receive a booster dose to carry on using the pass will be reduced from 7 months. 

Member comments

  1. Is anyone still under the illusion that this is about health any more, with Omicron now prevalent, it’s about authoritarian control, coercion and punishment.

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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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