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‘Remain vigilant’: Who in France is eligible for a Covid booster jab?

France is warning people not to lower their guard in the fight against Covid-19

Are you eligible for the next wave of Covid-19 boosters? Pic: Viacheslav Lopatin / Shutterstock

A campaign to encourage people to get their Covid-19 booster vaccine is under way in France.

Booster shots are available up until June 16 for those who are deemed most at risk - provided there have been at least six months since their last jab.

It comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) last week declared an end to the “global health emergency” called three years ago over the virus.

In France, however, the campaign is part of a continuing strategy to “remain vigilant” against the virus – which took the lives of more than 700 people in the last 30 days in the country.

Am I eligible for Covid booster vaccine?

The government’s drive follows the recommendation of France’s health authority la Haute Autorité de santé (HAS), who in January published a roadmap for Covid-19 booster shots.

The people recommended to have a vaccine this spring are:

  • Those aged 80 and above
  • Immunocompromised people
  • People living in care homes (EHPADs and USLDs)
  • Those who come into frequent contact with immunocompromised people, in particular, healthcare and social care workers

You can make an appointment for the booster at a nearby health centre (doctor’s office, pharmacy, etc), through your place of care (for example via your EHPAD), or you can find more information on the official health website.

HAS' recommendations are for those vulnerable to receive two booster shots per year – one in autumn and one in the spring, six months apart – to “help [those vulnerable] maintain a sufficient level of vaccine protection” against Covid-19.  

The HAS also recommends those with comorbidities should have a yearly Covid-19 booster injection in the autumn. 

An autumnal drive for Covid-19 booster shots will run in conjunction with the seasonal flu jab campaign from 2023 if HAS’ advice is followed.

For other members of the general population, the HAS does not make recommendations for Covid-19 booster shots - but says they should be given to anybody who wishes to have one, provided there have been at least six months since their last anti-Covid jab. 

They also “do not exclude the possibility of setting up a vaccination campaign if the epidemiological situation justifies it,” according to a report in February report.

Read more: France lets healthcare staff without Covid jab return to work

WHO lifts emergency pandemic status

The campaign for booster shots officially started at the end of April - but calls for those eligible to get the vaccine to do so were reinforced after WHO declared an end to the ‘global health emergency’ over Covid.

It nevertheless came with a warning from the organisation for countries to remain vigilant over the virus.

“The worst thing any country can do now is to use this news as a reason to let down its guard, to dismantle the systems it has built, or to send the message to its people that Covid-19 is nothing to worry about,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The French have seemingly taken this to heart, boosting the drive as part of their campaign to “stay vigilant” against the virus.

“Global immunity is almost there,” said Agnès Firmin-Le Bodo, Minister for Territorial Organisation and Health Professions, but “there are still hospitalisations [in France] due to Covid… The virus is still circulating.”

Almost 13,000 people are currently in hospital in France due to the virus, and an average of 26 people die every day – in the last 30 days, the death toll attributed to the disease is 750.

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