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COVID-19 HEALTH PASS

How to use your French vaccine pass as a card

It is now possible to print a French vaccine pass onto a credit card-sized piece of plastic for just €3. We look at how to do this and the possible benefits.

An employee of the French firm, Evolis, prints a plastic card.
It is now possible to print the vaccine pass onto a credit card-sized piece of plastic. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

The French vaccine pass is required for anyone over the age of 16 to enter a wide range of venues like bars, restaurants, museums, cinemas and even long-distance train carriages. 

Most people use the TousAntiCovid app to store the pass on their smartphones – and others carry around paper proof of vaccination or recent recovery from Covid necessary to hold a valid pass. 

But what if your phone has run out of charge? And what if your paper vaccination certificates are now crumpled beyond recognition after hours of punishment in your pocket? 

Fortunately there is a solution. Last year, a French company called Evolis developed a technology that allows businesses to scan a QR code from the TousAntiCovid app or vaccination certificate, send the information to a printer and then produce a credit-card-sized plastic version of the pass. 

Increasing numbers of businesses in France are buying access to the Evolis technology – specifically the printer – which is sold for €1,290. The printed cards show the QR code which shows proof of vaccination or recovery, as well as your first name, second name and date of birth. 

Pharmacies, supermarkets and even some bakeries and tobacconists are now offering clients the chance to print their vaccine passes onto plastic cards for just €3. There is even a website where you can order such a card online for €5, postage included. 

The cards could be particularly useful for skiers who are now subject to vaccine pass checks at ski lifts. Rather than fumbling around for your phone or vaccination certificate, you could simply attach the card to your salopettes, or hold it alongside your lift pass. 

Children between the age of 12-15 are not required to hold a vaccine pass but still must hold a health pass. In theory you could also get this printed onto one of the cards, but you should check this with whichever establishment is responsible for the printing. Children younger than this do not need a health or vaccine pass. 

If you have not yet completed your full cycle of Covid vaccination, it may not be worth investing in one of these cards. This is because with each shot, you receive a new QR code. 

These cards may not be practical for tourists because to use a vaccine pass in France, you need a QR code that is recognised by the French system. 

If you were vaccinated in the EU, Schengen zone or UK then you can scan the QR code on your vaccination certificate straight into the French app. This is also the case if you previously had a health pass and need to add a booster shot in order to keep it valid.

READ MORE Are NHS vaccination certificates still valid on the French health pass?

If you received your vaccination in the UK, it may not be worth getting this card because the NHS vaccination certificate QR codes reset every 30 days. 

If, however, you were vaccinated in the USA, Canada, Australia or any other non EU/UK/Schengen country then things are a little more complicated. Once in France, you will have to take your vaccination certificate to an approved pharmacy in order to get a QR code that can be used with the French app. Full details HERE.

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COVID-19 ALERT

France to scrap vaccine pass and mask rule

The French Prime Minister has confirmed that the rules on masks and vaccine passes will be scrapped in almost all venues from March 14th.

France to scrap vaccine pass and mask rule

The government had previously said that mid March was a likely date for relaxation of the rules, with the health minister adding targets around the number of cases and patients in hospital.

But Prime Minister Jean Castex, speaking on the TF1 TV channel’s lunchtime show, confirmed that the rules would be scrapped from Monday, March 14th.

Castex said: “After a fifth wave of Covid on an unprecedented scale, the health situation has been improving significantly for several weeks. In particular, the pressure on hospitals due to the epidemic has decreased significantly, allowing the lifting of emergency protocols and a gradual resumption of scheduled appointments and surgeries.

“Under these conditions, and while scientific models do not foresee any change in this favourable trajectory in the coming weeks, we can today announce new measures.”

From Monday, March 14th, masks will no longer be compulsory in any indoor spaces – with the exception of public transport, medical establishments and care homes. Private businesses will still be able to make mask-wearing a condition of entry.

Castex did not mention schools, but his office later clarified that masks will no longer be required in the classroom.

The government still recommends masks for at-risk positive and contact cases, symptomatic individuals and health care professionals.

The vaccine pass – currently required to access a wide range of venues including bars, restaurants, tourist sites and ski lifts – will also be suspended from March 14th.

A health pass – requiring proof of either vaccination or a recent negative Covid test – will still be needed to access venues with extremely vulnerable residents such as hospitals and care homes.

 

Covid case numbers have fallen tenfold since January, when daily cases peaked at over 100,000 a day. Although patient numbers in hospitals are also falling there were still 2,329 Covid patients in intensive care on March 2nd.

The targets previously set by health minister Olivier Véran were to have an R rate below 1, an incidence rate (cases per 100,000 people) below 500 and to have fewer than 1,500 Covid patients in intensive care.

On March 2nd the R rate was 0.63 and the incidence rate was 584.

There appears to be more doubt about whether the hospital target will be met – on March 2nd there were 2,329 patients in ICU, this has been falling steadily since the beginning of February and the current number is 24 percent lower than the previous week. However experts estimate the the occupancy is still likely to be at around 1,700 – above the target – by March 14th. 

France first introduced the health pass in summer 2021 before converting it into a vaccine pass – where a negative Covid test was no longer accepted – in January 2022.

In January it also added the obligation to have a booster shot in order to keep a working health pass and stipulated that this must be given within four months of the second dose – something that has proved a particular headache for tourists coming from countries which do not offer a booster after four months.

The requirement for all children aged 12 and over to have either a health or vaccine pass has also proved problematic for visitors from countries that do not have widespread vaccination programmes for children.

In France the vaccine pass has been credited with driving the high vaccination rate – over 90 percent of adults are vaccinated in France and 79.3 percent of the entire population have had at least one vaccine dose. Vaccination is open to everyone aged five and older. 

 
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