Four million French people need a booster to keep their Covid health pass


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Around four million French citizens risk invalidating their Covid health pass as of Tuesday if they don’t get a booster within four months of their last dose or infection. In a bid to step up the campaign, the government said holders of fake passes will not be penalised if they start their jabs now. 

The government announced that the booster jab must occur «no later than four months» after the second dose as opposed to 7 months previously. 

The third dose of the Covid vaccine «no later than four months» also applies to those people who had only one injection followed by an infection, or vice versa, according to France’s health ministry.

People who caught the virus after having received two doses of the virus do not need a booster shot, as the ministry considers that «one infection = one dose».

16 and 17 year-olds are not required to have a booster shot to maintain the validity of their pass, and those under 16 do not require a vaccine pass.

However, French people wishing to travel overseas must have a booster shot to be able to access a valid travel certificate.

According to health authorities, between four and 4.5 million people are not up to date with their vaccines.

Around 54.1 million people have had at least one injection (80 percent of the population) and 53 million are completed vaccinated (78 percent of the population). 37.86 million people have had a booster shot.

‘Amnesty’ for fake pass holders

In a bid to step up the push towards full vaccination, the government has also begun an «amnesty» whereby people with «fake» passes can get a real vaccine pass and not risk penal action.

A memo was sent out to France’s health staff by the Direction of General Health (DGS) on Monday simplifying the procedures, as per a law on «health crisis management» voted through on 16 January.

People holding a fake vaccine pass can now «cancel» their fake pass and start the process of inoculation.

The directors of vaccine centres have been instructed that they do not need to report the fraud to police, even if the original law stated that requests had to fall within a thirty day limit.

The interior ministry estimates that there are at least 192,000 fake vaccine passes currently in circulation.

The deadline comes as the government has suggested that the rules for the vaccine pass may be modified in the coming weeks, thanks to an improving situation in terms of infections and hospital figures. 

A lifting of the pass may occur as early as «the end of March» or «beginning of April», according to Alain Fischer, special scientific advisor to the government. An indication shared by government spokesman Gabriel Attal after a cabinet meeting last week.

This would only happen if the rate of infection dropped down 10 or 20 percent from current levels, Fischer said, adding that the number of patients in hospital would also need to go down significantly.

Improvements

The number of patients in hospital is going down, according to health agency Santé Publique France, slowly, but steadily, as is the number of daily infections.

In 24 hours from Sunday to Monday, there were 26,475 positive cases recorded compared to 86,562 on Sunday.

As of Monday, there were 31,532 Covid patients in hospital compared to on 31,621 on Sunday, and 33,447 a week ago.

Overall hospital admissions however saw a slight rise but in terms of intensive care numbers, figures showed a decline. There were 3,296 patients in intensive care on Monday compared to 3,305 on Sunday and 3,622 a week ago. 

As of Wednesday in France, a number of remaining Covid restrictions are due to be lifted.

Nightclubs will be able to reopen, as well as standing room at concerts and eating at bars and cinemas will also be allowed. 


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