You can enter France if you haven’t been boosted, but that might be all you can do
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As much as I tried to escape it, I am compelled to continue writing about the French health pass thanks to all of the TPG readers who anticipate traveling to France and don’t know what to do with the new COVID-19 booster shot requirement starting this weekend.
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While I usually answer five questions in my weekly column, I received many inquiries asking the same question:
Do you have any idea what to do in this situation: My first dose was in January 2021 and my second was in Februrary. I received the booster as soon as it was available in November. This means my booster wasn’t in the 5-7 month period France requires for the pass, which is critical. I’m not sure if you have access to someone for an answer on this, but I thought I’d reach out to you in case you do. I’m considering a trip in early Spring, because ‘Paris is always a good idea,’ right?!
What is happening on Jan. 15?
As of Jan. 15, 2022, France will be changing the criteria currently used to restrict access to public spaces within the country to only admit those who are fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. President Emmanuel Macron had previously said the original rules would be in effect through at least July 2022.
The French health pass, also known as the “pass sanitaire,” will soon be referred to as the French vaccine pass or “pass vaccinal,” according to Atout France, the official French government tourism agency.
This means that starting Saturday, Jan. 15, all tourists to France that are over 18 will need to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, in addition to proof of a third dose or booster administered within five to seven months after one’s final dose of a vaccine accepted by the French government.
“Currently only the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are accepted for entry into France,” says the U.S. Embassy in France. “Travelers who have received all required doses of a WHO-licensed vaccine not approved by the European Medicines Agency require an additional single dose of an EMA-approved mRNA vaccine (currently Pfizer or Moderna).”
How to get a vaccine pass
“For foreign visitors who already have a Pass Sanitaire (to be known as the Vaccine Pass on Jan. 15), they will need to visit a pharmacy to show proof of a third dose (in addition to their initial vaccination) and have the pharmacy update their pass,” confirmed a spokesperson for Atout France, who also said that only vaccinated travelers will be able to obtain the pass.
As has been the case since October, travelers can still obtain the pass on the ground in France by visiting participating pharmacies and showing a passport and proof of vaccination and booster.
Although unvaccinated travelers had previously been able to get a temporary pass by showing results of a negative COVID-19 test, that is no longer the case.
“Essentially, as it’s now a Pass Vaccinal only vaccinated travelers are eligible to obtain one,” said Atout France.
Nearly 3,000 pharmacies are currently issuing vaccine passes, including almost 700 in Paris. The French Health Ministry provides a map outlining pharmacies by location throughout the country.
Are those boosted more than seven months prior to visiting france ineligible for the pass?
The short answer is yes, though a booster is not required to enter the country.
“For entry purposes only, for all vaccines approved for use in the United States, a booster dose is not required to be considered fully vaccinated,” said the embassy.
Anecdotally, I have heard stories from TPG readers who successfully visited restaurants, bars and museums sans pass by showing their CDC vaccination record.
What else do I need to visit France at the moment?
Fully vaccinated travelers coming from the U.S. must show results of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours prior to departure for France, in addition to completing an Eos electronic form online.
If you still have questions, we recommend consulting the websites for the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the U.S. Embassy or Atout France. Also, note that many airlines provide answers to COVID-19-related travel questions in specific countries, including Air France.
While this was a departure from our usual weekly column format, I hope it was just as helpful and I sincerely wish I had better news to report.
For what it’s worth, I still think Paris is (sometimes) a good idea depending on how safely you can visit. But that’s how I am personally approaching travel right now.
Featured photo of a health worker at a pop-up COVID-19 testing tent in Paris on Jan. 12 by Nathan Laine/Bloomberg/Getty Images.
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