Update: France delays vaccine pass implementation until Monday

Jan 21, 2022

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These days, it takes more than being attractive, chic or well connected to get into a bar or restaurant in Paris. It also takes a booster shot, and there are still many unanswered questions about that. The “pass vaccinal,” or vaccine pass, which was supposed to take effect Jan. 21 will now take effect on Monday, Jan. 24, per my sources at Atout France, the country’s official tourism agency.

And my stories about the newly named vaccine pass are the gift that keeps on giving to TPG readers, as I am back for yet another week answering your questions about developments regarding the pass. Why talk about anything else, when we can talk about this?

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In all fairness, it’s been brought to my attention (several times) that the initial question I set out to answer last week remains unanswered:

Hi Caroline,

I read with interest your post on France – which started with a reader’s question. However I think you missed the point of the question because you never answered it. 

Hi sir, thank you for pointing that out. Unfortunately, we didn’t know the answer then and still don’t have it now despite our best efforts.

Let’s start with what we do know.

As of Jan. 15, all visitors to France (over the age of 18) need to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination plus proof of a third dose or booster in order to get a vaccine pass.

The booster needs to be administered within three to seven months after your final dose of a vaccine to successfully obtain the vaccine pass, according to the U.S. Embassy. But it is still unclear if someone can get the new pass if it’s been longer than seven months between the second dose and booster.

That is to say, if you got your second dose in February and your booster in November, as was the case with the reader we featured last week, does that nine-month gap exclude you from getting the vaccine pass on a trip this spring?

We are still trying to figure out how those outside that timeline can obtain a pass. We will continue to hunt for a resolution (and will answer the many questions as soon as we know).

In the interim, let’s review.

Read more: You can enter France if you haven’t been boosted, but that might be all you can do

1. Do I need to be boosted to enter the country?

No, you do not need to be boosted in order to enter the country.

As I wrote last week, a booster is not required for visitors to successfully show proof of full vaccination for travel to France.

“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 U.S. Embassy.

You just need the booster to receive the vaccine pass. And those vaccine passes are incredibly valuable if you are visiting France.

Demonstrators during a protest against the campaign trip of French far-right party “Reconquete!” leader and 2022 French presidential election candidate Eric Zemmour on Jan. 21. (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

2. How do people who got a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine (i.e., J&J) show proof of a booster?

Either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine booster will suffice for Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients in terms of showing proof of booster.

Teachers denounce Jean Michel Blanquer’s ”Ibiza protocol” in Paris on Jan. 20. (Photo by Vincent Koebel/NurPhoto)

3. If my health pass is deactivated, can I reactivate it if I get boosted?

Anyone who secured a health pass prior to the booster requirements that took effect on Jan. 15 should be able to obtain a new pass as long as they show accurate and genuine proof of vaccination as requested.

Read more: Traveling to France? There are new rules. Here’s what you need to know

As a reminder, “foreign visitors who already have a Pass Sanitaire … 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,” Atout France told us last week.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during the French Design 100 prize on Jan. 20. (Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images)

4. Will a fee apply for a new vaccine pass?

You should expect to pay 35 euros (about $40) for a vaccine pass from participating French pharmacies.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex delivers a speech in Nantes on Jan. 21. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)

5. My partner’s vaccine card went through the laundry, so it’s in pieces. He has his state vaccine records, a photo of the vaccine card and also the Excelsior Pass. How integral is the physical CDC card in getting a French health pass?

Sorry to say, you indeed need to show your physical Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-issued vaccination card in order to get a pass in France.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex during a visit to a COVID-19 vaccination center in Nantes on Jan. 21. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)

Rest assured you all will be the first to know any new information on Monday, but until then, bear in mind that COVID-19 regulations are fluid. Countries are implementing rules based on ever-changing COVID-19 data as new variants continue to emerge, on top of the already arduous task of the day-to-day management of facilitating a functioning nation. I’ve been critical of the French government in the past for inconsistent policies, but it’s time we acknowledge the magnitude of the feat at hand.

Related: Country-by-country guide to coronavirus reopening

Have a question for next week? Email me at caroline.tanner@thepointsguy.com or tips@thepointsguy.com. Or follow me on Instagram @cctanner and shoot me a DM.

Featured photo of a campaign poster depicting Paris mayor and French Socialist Party candidate for the 2022 French presidential election Anne Hidalgo in Toulouse on Jan. 20 by LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images.

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