New French health pass rule from 15th December

From this Thursday, people aged 65 and over in France will need a third dose of the Covid jab in order to retain their health pass. By mid-January, this will be extended to the entire adult population. Here are the details on the next phase of the Covid health crisis.

The French health pass has been mired in questions and debate since its inception. Without it, a person cannot enter restaurants, bars, cultural centres, sports facilities or shopping areas, vastly limiting freedom of movement for non-holders and encouraging people to get vaccinated.

By and large, the French have come around to the idea and compliance has meant that life has gone on more or less as usual. Now, the pass is once again the centre of controversy and confusion with the introduction of the rule that those aged 65 and over must obtain a booster jab to keep their pass up to date. This rule will extend to all adults aged 18 and over in France from 15th January 2022.

This mandate seems straightforward on paper: Get the third dose or lose your health pass on those dates. As with most things relating to government administration and this virus, it is not exactly the case.

The 15th December date is the launch of the new rules and those aged 65 and over must have the booster to keep their passes if a period of seven months has lapsed since their last dose of a two-dose vaccine, or within a maximum period of two months after the Janssen single dose vaccine. The same idea holds for the 18 and older crowd come January. So far, 12-to 17-year-olds are not required to get a third dose. 

The booster can be given as soon as five months after the last injection, but no more than seven months, giving the public a two-month window to work with.

Beyond these deadlines, the QR code on the health pass will be automatically deactivated and placed in the “expired certificate” category.

As D-day for every person is different, the public can go to a new teleservice called My Covid Vaccine Reminder (Mon rappel Vaccin Covid), which tells users in a few clicks their eligibility date for the reminder as well as the expiry date of individual health passes. Additionally, the TousAntiCovid app will warn people in an alert that their time has come to go get a third dose.

“Your page will change colour when you present the pass, so that you can clearly see the time left before deactivation,” explained the Minister of Health. 

All adults have been eligible for the third dose since 27th November, but the uptake has been slow.

The alternative to getting a third dose is to get PCR or antigen tests, but since 29th November, the validity period for these has dropped from 72 to 24 hours, making it necessary to get a daily test, a costly endeavour as the tests are no longer free.

The President of the Scientific Council, Jean-François Delfraissy, is for the moment opposed to the implementation of a health pass for five to 11-year-olds, believing that there is not enough research on the side effects of vaccines in children to justify universal jabs.

Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that the government was considering opening the vaccination to children “if possible, by the end of the year”, but “on a voluntary basis”.

“If we have the authorizations, we will start before Christmas. We are ready,” Health Minister Véran announced on Sunday in an interview with Le Parisien.

Currently, Monaco is reportedly working on its third dose delay plan, but nothing solid has been announced by the government. Monaco’s plan will only be valid in the Principality, meaning without a third dose, travel outside the country will require a test or a booster, regardless of whether one has had the disease or not. 

Photo by Monaco Life