7

According to Entry requirements - France travel advice - GOV.UK:

“Fully vaccinated” is defined by the completion of a vaccination schedule, specifically:

  • 2 weeks after the second dose of Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca

It isn't stated what constitutes 2 weeks as far as the French government is concerned (though I believe this is an EU-wide rule) and I've been unable to find anything that answers, which of these is true:

  • The day of the vaccination does count as a part of the period - someone who had their 2nd vaccination on Wednesday 21st of July 2021 would be considered to be 2 weeks from the second dose as of Wednesday August 4th
  • The day of the vaccination does not count as a part of the period - someone who had their 2nd vaccination on Wednesday 21st of July 2021 would be considered to be 2 weeks from the second dose as of Thursday August 5th

Or, there's another "definition" of 2 weeks that is applicable here?

15
  • 1
    I really wouldn't have picked an example that went across a month break. Indeed, I think by doing so, you've torpedoed the question: by my reckoning, if you're vaccinated on 21 July and that day counts as day one, then day fourteen is 3 Aug, and the other dates seem similarly wrong. Please consider rewriting the question with the vaccination happening on 1 Aug, because at the moment it's hard to tell whether your question is "is the vaccination date day zero or one", or "am I fully vaccinated on day fourteen or day fifteen", or something else.
    – MadHatter
    Jul 16 at 14:22
  • 2
    To make things simpler, it seems that french government is now considering reducing this period to one week.
    – audionuma
    Jul 16 at 16:10
  • 1
    @audionuma That was in relation to access to bars and restaurants, I don't think entry requirement would necessarily be impacted.
    – Relaxed
    Jul 18 at 5:34
  • 3
    FWIW, When I entered France last week from the UK, they just asked if we were fully vaccinated, no checks of the NHS paperwork we'd brought, they took our word for it!
    – Gagravarr
    Jul 18 at 21:19
  • 2
    Reading these interpretations and finding them all to be potentially valid reminds me why, as a developer, I hate date calculations and off-by-one scenarios so vehemently.
    – Spratty
    Jul 20 at 10:48
6

Obviously, it's safer to use the later date. By inductive reasoning I would argue that the day of the vaccination should not be counted, but the same line of reasoning also leads to the conclusion that the relevant date is August 4th.

First, assume that "two weeks" is fourteen days (perhaps questionable for France, where they often use the expression quinze jours, "fifteen days," to mean two weeks, but I'll assume for now that the French-language rule is deux semaines).

Next, consider that if the requirement were "one day after the second dose" then the relevant date after a vaccination on 21 July would be 22 July. Therefore, "two days" would denote 23 July, "three days" 24 July, and so on, until you arrive at "ten days," denoting 31 July, "11 days," denoting 1 August, and eventually "14 days," which denotes 4 August.

After a quick search, I found a page on the French government site that uses "2 semaines," so there should be no need to worry about quinze jours.


However, as noted in a comment, it seems that at least Germany, for whatever reason, considers that one is fully vaccinated only as of the beginning of the fifteenth day after vaccination. I suppose that this is likely because during the earlier part of the fourteenth day after the vaccination, before the time at which you were vaccinated, you aren't considered fully vaccinated, and it is easier just to wait until midnight than to try to measure the 14 days down to the second.

Now that this wrinkle has been introduced, and without being able to find anything explicit about how France approaches this question, I would assume that they approach it as Germany does, and use August 5th.

3
  • 1
    Using logic, I would also agree with your interpretation, but FWIW, Germany uses the other method of counting. I received my second vaccine on June 11th and the official CovPass app reminded me that I am not considered fully vaccinated until June 26th when I added the vaccination. In Germany, the wording is that you are considered fully vaccinated "14 days" after the second vaccine. Jul 16 at 14:23
  • 1
    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo I wonder whether this has to do with the fact that part of the 25th falls less than 14 full days after your vaccination (because effectively nobody is ever vaccinated precisely at midnight), so the 26th is the first calendar day that begins more than two weeks after your vaccination.
    – phoog
    Jul 16 at 14:32
  • That may very well be the case. Without knowing the time of vaccination and the time is not recorded in the vaccination pass, the first point in time where it can be ascertained that 14 full days (14x24 = 336 hours) have passed since the vaccination is on the 15th day after the vaccination (not counting the day of vaccination). Jul 16 at 16:25
4

The dose is legally effective on the 14th day after the injection. So if you had your second shot on a Wednesday, you can enter France on the Wednesday two weeks after.

Note that being vaccinated helps, but depending on where you're coming from and when you're travelling it might not be sufficient. As of today, the UK is considered an “orange” country, meaning that you also need a recent test, but you don't need pressing grounds for travel and you don't need to isolate after arrival. Beware that these rules change often and I do not intend to keep this answer updated.


The French government advice page defines “fully vaccinated” as “two weeks”, which unfortunately is imprecise.

  • Two weeks after the second shot for two-shot vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca);
  • Four weeks after the shot for one-shot vaccines (Johnson & Johnson);
  • Two weeks after the shot for vaccines administered to people who have already had COVID-19 (only one dose is necessary).

Only vaccines authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be accepted, i.e. Pfizer (Comirnaty), Moderna, AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).

I can't find the applicable legal text, only the law for what is applicable once inside France, which is currently different. Once inside France, according to the décret 2021-699 du 1er juin 2021, as of today (the decree has already been revised several times),

Un justificatif du statut vaccinal est considéré comme attestant d'un schéma vaccinal complet (…)

a) S'agissant du vaccin “ COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen ”, 28 jours après l'administration d'une dose ;

b) S'agissant des autres vaccins, 7 jours après l'administration d'une deuxième dose, sauf en ce qui concerne les personnes ayant été infectées par la covid-19, pour lesquelles ce délai court après l'administration d'une dose ;

Translation: according to French law, you are considered fully vaccinated on the 7th day after your second injection of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca (or sole injection if you have had covid), and on the 28th day after your single injection of Janssen.

An earlier version of this decree stated “quatorze jours”, i.e. 14 days, and as far as I know at the time the rule was the same for border crossings and other purposes.

You may have seen references to “quinze jours”, which is a French colloquialism meaning two weeks. “Fifteen days” is not an accurate translation of “quinze jours” in a non-legal context. If you saw references to 15 days in English, that was a mistranslation.

2
  • 1
    (+1) Is “deux semaines” really less precise than “quatorze jours”? It doesn't really solve the question of how you count the days (including the day you received the vaccine or not). Your interpretation makes sense to me and ultimately I don't think it matters much from a public health point of view but the “7 days” wording doesn't seem to clarify that. It would also be interesting to know how the “TousAntiCovid Verif” app treats the 7th/14th day after receiving a vaccine.
    – Relaxed
    Jul 19 at 10:39
  • 1
    @Relaxed "2 weeks" is less precise than "14 days" in that it has fewer significant digits. Similarly, it would be less weird for someone to say today, July 20th, that they attended US Independence Day festivities "two weeks ago" even though they were 16 days ago. But neither of these considerations has much bearing on public health rulemaking, where one probably ought to assume that a week is precisely equal to seven days unless the rule explicitly says otherwise. Gilles: I'm not aware of anyone saying "quinze jours," much less incorrectly literally translating it into English.
    – phoog
    Jul 20 at 13:43
3

A few considerations:

  • Two weeks/14 days is necessarily somewhat imprecise. There are ways to be more specific like counting hours (as the rules do for tests) but the law was not phrased that way. This makes sense as the immune response is not expected to suddenly increase after exactly 336 hours.

  • In keeping with this, enforcement is not very strict. Anecdotal reports (here and elsewhere) suggests it is sometimes completely absent (land borders inside the EU) or based on verbal declarations (Gagravarr's comment to the question). The point is also to push people to get vaccinated and tell them off the idea of traveling without a test the day after receiving their first shot.

  • As the EU Digital COVID Certificate is rolled out, rules on entry will presumably increasingly be enforced using the “TousAntiCovid Verif” app, which could create an implicit definition. How the threshold is implemented is not documented and the source code is not available so I do not know how the app treats this situation. The most systematic enforcement I have witnessed or experienced is at the Gare du Nord in Paris but it was still mostly based on regular test certificates.

  • If you wait for 14 full calendar days to have elapsed (say you get your second shot on Thursday July 1st and you travel on Friday July 16th), there is no doubt that you meet the requirement. There are several other reasonable interpretations that would allow travel from 12 AM or at some other point during the day of the 15th. In most cases, I expect it should be possible to convince a border guard to let you through but do you really need to risk a fine, additional stress or discussion with a carrier over this?

    If you are currently planning a trip, planning a journey on the 16th is therefore an easy, if potentially somewhat inconvenient, way to solve the problem. Incidentally, that's the definition of a “jour franc” in French contract law.

  • Similarly, you always have the option of getting a test just before your trip (it doesn't need to be a PCR test).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.