Reader question: Will my health pass deactivate if I can’t get a booster because I caught Covid?

All adults will soon need a booster dose of Covid vaccine if they are to continue using the French health pass, but what's the situation if you caught Covid?

Health worker prepares a booster dose in France.
Health worker prepares a booster dose in France. Here's what you need to do if you have already been infected. (Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP)

Question: I was booked to get my booster but then I caught Covid now. I’m recovered now but they say I can’t get a booster at the moment – so how do I keep my health pass activated?

As more and more of us catch the virus, many of you have been asking whether or not getting infected means that you have to get a booster dose to continue using the health pass – something that is required if you want to access venues like bars, restaurants, museums and if you want to use long-distance trains.

As a general rule, the French government considers one bout of Covid as the equivalent to receiving one dose of vaccine. But the true answer to this question depends on what point in the vaccination course you were infected and what kind of vaccine you received. 

Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca

If you were infected before getting vaccinated you receive just a single dose of the double-dose vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca) and can then get a booster on the normal schedule.

Booster – If, however, you received two doses of vaccine and then caught Covid (the case for many people at the moment), you become eligible for a booster dose three months after infection – you will then be considered fully vaccinated with a booster.

If you do not receive a booster dose within seven months of your infection, your health pass will expire.

Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) 

If you received a Janssen vaccine, then caught Covid less than 15 days later, you should receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine four weeks after infection. After receiving this additional dose, you become eligible for a booster dose three months after your second injection. You will be considered fully vaccinated, with a booster. 

If you received a Janssen vaccine, then caught Covid more than 15 days later, you become eligible for a booster dose three months after infection. After seven of receiving this injection, you will be considered fully vaccinated, with a booster.

Proof of Covid recovery

You can use a positive Covid test that is more than 11 days old but less than 6 months old as proof of recent recovery from Covid. This can be either a PCR or antigen test, but not a home test kit.

How to keep health pass activated?

If you’re approaching the limit for getting a booster, your health pass will send you a warning that it is about to deactivate.

If you’re unable to get the booster before the health pass expiry date, you can instead upload your positive test result to the Tous Anti Covid app. 

When you receive a positive Covid test in France, you will normally be given either a piece of paper with a QR code that you can scan into the app directly, or receive a link by email or SMS to download your result. You can then scan the code into Tous Anti Covid.

Alternatively, there is a website where you will able to find proof of your test result – there is a function on the site which allows you to import the result into your TousAntiCovid app. Some have reported significant delays when it comes to this website displaying results. 

Positive Covid tests at least 11 days old can be used to gain entry to all health pass venues for six months. During this time, you can still get a booster dose if you fit within the timelines described above. 

If you do not use the app, you can instead show a positive Covid test between 11 days and 6 months old, plus proof of earlier vaccinations, on paper at health pass venues.

Upcoming changes to the health pass

The government hope to transform the health pass into a vaccine pass in January. This will require full vaccination to enter various public venues. 

READ MORE What will change when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass?

From February 15th, anyone over 18 will have to receive a booster dose within four months for their pass to remain active.

Eligibility will continue to start at three months since the previous vaccination.  

This will leave all adults with a one month period in which to receive a booster before the pass expires. 

READ MORE When will my French health pass deactivate?

If for example, you received your second dose on January 3rd 2022, you will become eligible for a booster on April 3rd 2022 and must get the shot before May 3rd 2022 or your pass will be deactivated. 

It is not yet clear how this will impact people who are using previous infection as a replacement for vaccination.

Travel abroad

The above rules are for the domestic French health pass, which you use to access bars etc. If you need to travel abroad then you can still use proof of your recent recovery from Covid, but for travel purposes you need to download a special ‘recovery certificate’ rather than just your positive test result.

Member comments

  1. Helen G
    My parents (over 65) received their first Pfizer dose in December 2020 and their second in January 2021. They got their booster in October 2021. All doses given in England. Their booster was more than 6 months after their 2nd dose (could not have got it within 6 months as boosters were not being offered in July 2021). They hope to come to France when they are allowed and go to restaurants. Will their pass sanitaire have been completely deactivated by the delay in getting the booster or reactivated when they got boosted? Can anyone help please?

  2. What happens if you caught covid in the states, there were no tests available to prove you got covid, except for home tests?

  3. For Travel Abroad_(in the above article)- you advise to download a special ‘recovery certificate’. Where can I find this please?

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For members


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).