France to announce COVID-19 booster shots for all adults - sources

by Reuters
Thursday, 25 November 2021 10:32 GMT

(Adds recommendations from French top health regulator, details, changes source)

PARIS, Nov 25 (Reuters) - France is set to announce that COVID-19 booster shots will be made available to all adults, along with stricter rules on wearing face masks and health pass checks to curb a new wave of infections, two parliamentary sources confirmed to Reuters on Thursday.

Health Minister Olivier Veran is due to hold a press conference at midday on Thursday.

France's Haute Autorite de Sante (HAS) health regulator said it was backing booster COVID vaccination shots for those aged 18 and over, and that the interim period between full vaccination and the booster shots should be shortened to five months instead of six.

HAS mentioned a renewed spread of the coronavirus that was "stronger than anticipated", and that the 'R' reproduction rate of 1.35 indicated "exponential growth" of infections.

On Wednesday, health authorities reported over 30,000 new infections for a second day in a row, a sequence unseen since end-April.

The seven-day moving average of daily new cases - which evens out reporting irregularities - stands at a three-month high of 21,761 and has almost quadrupled in a month.

The number of people treated in intensive care for COVID-19 is nearly 1,500, a figure last seen at the end of September.

President Emmanuel Macron's government on Wednesday said it would focus on tougher social distancing rules and a faster booster shot programme and that it wanted to avoid imposing lockdowns again as some other European countries have done.

The PCR tests for the non-vaccinated will only be valid for one day - instead of 72 hours currently - and working from home is likely to be recommended when possible.

Booster shots will become a requirement for a valid health pass, which is required in France to enter restaurants, cafes, cinemas and museums, among other public venues.

According to data available on the health ministry's website, France has more than 30 millions vaccines in stock. (Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau, Richard Lough, Sudip Kar-Gupta, and Benoit Van Overstraeten, Editing by Marguerita Choy and Bernadette Baum)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.