Covid boosters, flu jabs, and extensions to France’s Health Pass. Plus, can you be asked to self-isolate in the UK even if you are vaccinated? Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Health Pass Extended
We mentioned in last week’s News Digest that French MPS were debating a bill to extend France’s Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire) through to summer 2022, and we can now confirm that this bill has been approved (albeit by a close vote!) by Parliament. The next step before the bill is passed into law is for it to be debated by the Senate, which will take place this Thursday (October 28th).
The bill’s approval will mean that the Pass Sanitaire will continue to be required for all adults and children over the age of 12 for entrance to public events, bars, restaurants, sports and cultural venues. The legislation would remain in place until July 31st 2022.
2. Possible Quarantine for Vaccinated Travellers to the UK?
Yes, you read that right. Firstly, it’s important to note that this doesn’t concern vaccinated travellers arriving in the UK. The rules for entering the UK, which you can find here, haven’t changed. However, the UK has confirmed a distinction to the rules regarding contact cases that may throw a spanner in the works for those vaccinated in France.
Under the current rules, those vaccinated in an EU country such as France (or any other non-UK country) are not recognised as vaccinated by the UK’s Test and Trace service. This means that if you are alerted by Test and Trace that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, you will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days. Crucially, this means you would not be able to leave the country during the isolation period and would have to extend your stay in the UK if you had planned to leave before the end of this 10-day period.
Controversially, anyone vaccinated in the UK is exempt from self-isolation under the exact same circumstances, which has naturally raised some questions over the fairness of the policy. The UK government has previously tried this tactic on a number of Covid regulations (including their initial travel policy) and have eventually relented and agreed to offer the same rules to both UK and foreign citizens. Time will tell if this will also be the case with this rule—we’ll keep you updated.
3. Flu Vaccines and Boosters
October 22nd marked the date that the flu vaccine was made available for all priority groups (anyone over 65, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses or obesity). Vaccines are free for everyone registered for France’s healthcare service or Carte Vitale, and you’ll need a ‘bon de prise en charge’ from your doctor in order to access it. Present this voucher at your local pharmacy to pick up your flu shot and arrange your appointment.
Flu vaccines will be available to anyone who wants one from November 23rd.
Covid-19 vaccination boosters are also currently available for over-65s and high-priority groups, and it’s possible to get both jabs in one appointment. Ask at your pharmacy or book an appointment via Doctorlib.
P.S. Don’t Forget to Put Your Clocks Back!
Enjoy your extra hour in bed this Sunday, October 31st, as the clocks go back one hour at 3 am. If you live in France, you can also enjoy a lie-in on Monday (good news if you’ve got plans for Halloween!). November 1st is a jour férié (bank holiday) in honour of All Saints Day (Toussaint).
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