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At the time of writing, the covid-19-related entry requirements for France* include this section about vaccinations:

Since 1 February 2022, in order for their vaccination schedule to continue to be recognised as complete, persons aged 18 years or older wishing to enter French territory must have received a booster dose of messenger RNA vaccine no later than nine months after receiving the last mandatory dose.

The way I read it, it says that the gap between original vaccination(s) and booster dose may not be greater than 9 months. So:

May 2021 ----------------------- Dec 2021 ------------ recognised as fully vaccinated?
vaccine(s) ---------------------- booster -----------  YES

OK because May to Dec is less than 9 months

Jan 2021 ----------------------- Dec 2021 ------------ recognised as fully vaccinated?
vaccine(s) ---------------------- booster -----------  NO

Not OK, because Jan to Dec is more than 9 months. A traveller in this position is supposed to, I guess, dig out a time machine and make their jabs closer together...

However, every third-party interpretation of these rules that I have seen suggests that the rule is that you have to have had a main course or a booster within the last 9 months

So have I interpreted the rules correctly, or are the places saying "main course / booster within last 9 months is OK" actually right?


* the original French as below, and my schoolboy French suggests that the gouv.fr website's translation is accurate

Depuis le 1er février 2022, pour que leur schéma vaccinal reste reconnu comme complet, les personnes de dix-huit ans ou plus souhaitant entrer sur le territoire national doivent avoir reçu une dose de vaccin à ARN messager complémentaire au plus tard 9 mois suivant l'injection de la dernière dose requise.

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  • 2
    In January 2021 no one could have compleated the 2 shot course, since most countries started at the end of December 2020 and the waiting time for the second shot was initially 6 weeks (later extended to 12 weeks). The 1 shot course (Jannsen) was only available since March 2021 in the EU. So March/April 2021 is the first realistic date for a course compleation. No need to dig out a time machine to come to this conclusion. Mar 28 at 18:47
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    @MarkJohnson many vaccine trial participants were fully vaccinated even before Jan 2021
    – AakashM
    Mar 28 at 20:14
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    @MarkJohnson Vaccination in Russia started already in November 2020 (Sputnik V) and UK started on December 8th (Pfizer/BioNTech). It is not at all unlikely that quite a few people received their regular second dose by end of January 2021. Mar 28 at 21:18
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    @MarkJohnson Not sure about France but both my dad and fiance got fully vaccinated by the end of January 2021, so your "no one" is clearly false. I don't know where you are pulling the "6 weeks" from, in Italy the second does has always been ~3 or ~4 weeks after the 1st dose (depending if Pfizer or Moderna), AFAIK only the UK modified the time between 1st and 2nd dose. 1st doses in Italy (and most of EU) started on the 27th of December, so hundred of thousand of people were fully vaccinated by february in each EU country.
    – GACy20
    Mar 29 at 7:51
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    @MarkJohnson Nonsense - Lots of people were fully vaccinated by the end of Jan 2021.
    – J...
    Mar 29 at 13:42

1 Answer 1

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Since 1 February 2022, in order for their vaccination schedule to continue to be recognised as complete, persons aged 18 years or older wishing to enter French territory must have received a booster dose of messenger RNA vaccine no later than nine months after receiving the last mandatory dose.

It is confusingly worded, but it means after 9 months following the last injection, the vaccination schedule a person received is no longer considered complete, that is, until you receive another dose. The legal basis is clear

... Pour celles ayant reçu cette dose complémentaire au-delà du délai de 4 mois mentionné à la phrase précédente, le schéma vaccinal est reconnu comme complet 7 jours après son injection. Une infection à la covid-19 équivaut à l'administration de l'une des deux premières doses ou de la dose complémentaire mentionnées au présent alinéa ; ...

Pour l'application du titre 2 bis, les personnes de dix-huit ans ou plus ayant reçu l'un des vaccins mentionnés au présent a doivent, pour que leur schéma vaccinal reste reconnu comme complet au-delà de 9 mois, avoir reçu la dose complémentaire mentionnée aux deux alinéas précédents ;

... For those who received the additional dose beyond the 4-month period mentioned in the previous sentence, the vaccination schedule is recognized as complete 7 days after the injection [of the booster dose]. ...

For the purposes of Title 2bis [regulations of international movement], persons eighteen years of age or older who have received one of the vaccines mentioned in this article must, in order for their vaccination schedule to remain recognized as complete beyond 9 months, have received the additional dose mentioned in the two preceding paragraphs;

Article 2-2, Décret n° 2021-699 du 1er juin 2021

The 4-month period is only for domestic uses (passe sanitaire), and the 9-month validity is for international movements (as required by the EU). Other provisions will apply mutatis mutandis with 9 months instead of four.

The initial course is recognized as complete within 9 months, after which a booster dose must be obtained for the vaccination to be considered complete again (with a 7-day waiting period). The same rule also applies to the booster doses ad infinitum (until the requirement is removed).

This is consistent with the EU requirement, as well as the interpretation of the IATA and the British Foreign Office.

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  • I see, so that nine months is about maintaining continuity after your main course, but the booster itself also resets the clock. Perfect
    – AakashM
    Mar 29 at 7:06
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    So if you miss this 9 month window, then what? Can you restart with dose 1 and 2? Would doctors do that?
    – lalala
    Mar 29 at 7:38
  • @lalala it just means that you no longer have "fully vaccinated" status until you get your booster. Mar 29 at 10:08
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    @lalala You will be recognized as fully vaccinated 7 days after your booster dose received beyond the initial 9-month period.
    – xngtng
    Mar 29 at 11:02
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    @FreeMan You will have to get another dose if your last dose is at least 9 months ago and you would like to be considered as fully vaccinated for the purpose of entry to France from an orange country today. Whether you will have to get these shots or another short or whether France will retain such entry requirement for certain countries for the rest of your life is a question for the future that no one can answer. For all we know France could be nuked tomorrow and all these questions would be irrelevant.
    – xngtng
    Mar 29 at 11:52

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