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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: What should I do if my French vaccine pass deactivates?

France has begun deactivating the vaccine passes of adults who have not had a Covid booster - here's what to do if this happens to you.

Paris Mayor and French Socialist Party presidential candidate Anne Hidalgo, has her health pass checked.
Paris Mayor and French Socialist Party presidential candidate Anne Hidalgo, has her health pass checked. Here's what to do if yours is deactivated. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

For the majority of people a Covid vaccine booster shot is now required for a valid French vaccine pass.

This requirement began in December for over 65s, before being extended to general population and the limit lowered to four months on February 15th. After a one-week ‘period of tolerance’ the government began deactivating vaccine passes on February 23rd.

The rules now state that anyone aged 18 who had their second dose more than four months ago must have a booster in order to keep their pass valid.

If you have had a booster the pass remains valid, even if more than four months have passed between the second and third shots.

These rules also apply to any tourists, visitors or people vaccinated outside France who wish to use the health pass

Those who fail to receive a booster dose will have their pass deactivated. When this happens, you will no longer be able to use your health pass to access venues like bars, restaurants, tourists sites and cinemas – you will also be temporarily barred from using long-distance trains. 

Fortunately, it is very easy to reactivate the pass. 

If you have already had the booster, simply upload the relevant certificate to the TousAntiCovid app.

You can do this by opening the app, clicking the “scanner un QR code” or “scan a QR code” button, and then pointing the phone’s camera at the QR code on your vaccination certificate or positive test result. 

Some vaccination sites no longer hand out vaccination certificates routinely, instead submitting information about your status to Assurance Maladie. If this is the case, you must download the certificate from the Ameli site to receive the QR code, which can then be scanned into the TousAntiCovid app. 

If you do not yet have a carte vitale and are therefore not registered with Ameli, make sure you ask for a paper certificate at the vaccine centre. 

If you have recently had Covid you can show a positive test result instead of the booster shot for up to four months after you were infected – full details here.

If you have not yet received a booster jab and haven’t recently tested positive, the solution is even simpler: get a booster shot. 

If you are over 65, you do not even need to book an appointment to receive your booster. You can simply walk into any vaccination site and you will be given priority treatment.

You can read our guide on how to get a booster dose HERE

If you don’t own a smartphone – those who don’t use the TousAntiCovid app can carry around paper evidence of having received a booster dose or a positive test result. If you do this, make sure to carry proof of previous Covid vaccinations too. 

Once you have scanned in your new certificate, the vaccine pass reactivates immediately.

How do I know when my pass will deactivate?

You can check whether your pass will deactivate by using the TousAntiCovid app – those who do so will receive an on-screen notification if their pass is set to expire. You can also double-check by clicking on the “Ouvrir mon carnet” or “Open my wallet” section of the app.

If your pass is set to expire, your most recent in-app vaccination certificate will carry a yellow warning informing you of the deadline to get your booster dose. 

There is also an online simulator to tell you when your health pass will be deactivated – this is particularly useful for people who do not use the TousAntiCovid app.

Tourists and visitors

The booster shot rule also applies to people who are visiting France. If you were vaccinated in an EU or Schengen zone country your vaccination certificate will be compatible with the French system.

If you were vaccinated outside the EU you will need to convert your vaccination certificate into a French one – here’s how.

If you were vaccinated in the UK your certificate is compatible with the French system. However, NHS QR codes are only valid for 30 days so you will need to download a new code from the NHS site every 30 days and upload it to the French app in order to keep your pass activated.

Special note for the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine 

A small minority of people in France received a single-shot Janssen vaccine. 

These people are eligible for a booster dose one month after their most recent infection. Their health passes will be deactivated if two months have passed since that last injection. 

There are also some particular rules for if you were infected following your Janssen injection:

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.

As for those injected with Pfizer/Moderna/Astrazeneca vaccines, if you were injected with the Janssen vaccine and then test positive, this means you can use the health pass for six months (from the moment the test was taken) without getting a booster. 

Member comments

  1. I can’t scan any QR code to show I’ve received the vax and the booster since we get only paper cards for attestation in the USA. Will I need a new passe sanitaire (or the new vaccination pass)? If so, where/how do I apply? Thanks for your help.

  2. yes please provide info for those who got shots in the US. I have a passe sanitaire but no way to update it with my 3rd jab. Can I do that at a pharmacy once I arrive in France? Anyway to do it ahead of time? Merci.

  3. MICHAEL BOYD ( a grumpy 90 yr old)

    I have used my paper certificate on numerous occasions as I find it much easier than faffing about with my telephone.
    It has always been accepted. I ask the man in a restaurant what he actually did with the photo he took,His reply was “Rien”. I reckon the whole thing is a ” con” as we return to a Vichy regime started by power hungry fonctionnaires & self important politicians. None asked me for my certificate when I attended the clinique in Bordeaux last week.

  4. How do I get my booster vaccination (received in the UK) registered on my mobile phone so that I can show it when required in France. Currently I am in the UK but heading out to a summer in France in a couple of months. [Forgive me if this info has already appeared in The Local but I must have missed it].

  5. Jane and Ellen,
    Unfortunately, those of us who are US citizens who jumped through hoops to get a Pass Sanitaire for a previous visit to France and subsequently received our boosters are starting from square one on our return visit. You can get into the country by showing your CDC card, but you can’t do anything else (restaurants, museums, etc.) until you go to a pharmacy, show your CDC card indicating three shots and pay the fee (rumored to be 36 euros). If the pharmacist deems your vaccinations to be legit, you will then receive a Pass Vaccinal.
    The need for the Pass is supposed to terminate in a July of 2022, but I will be surprised if all of this bureaucracy is being put in place for just six months. My guess is that this is here to stay, with the need to update for additional shots in the future.

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For members

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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