French COVID advisory bodies urge booster shots for all

COVID-19 booster

Two bodies set up to advise the French government on its handling of the COVID-19 crisis have recommended making booster shots available to all vaccinated adults.

France is currently only offering boosters to people over 65 or with chronic conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus, as well as health workers.

From December 1, they will be expanded to people over 50.

In a note made public on Monday, the Vaccine Strategy Orientation Council (COSV) headed by immunologist Alain Fischer recommended rolling out additional jabs for all “to restore vaccine effectiveness to levels allowing us to control the epidemic”.

The COVID-19 Scientific Council, headed by infectious diseases expert Jean-Francois Delfraissy, backed that advice in a separate note published on Monday.

The recommendations come as several European countries and the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe attempt to quell riots over restrictions aimed at containing a new surge in infections.

President Emmanuel Macron said last week he would “not be surprised” if France, which like other European countries is battling a new wave of infections, eventually offered a top-up jab to all vaccinated adults.

“Logically that’s the next step,” he said.

Health Minister Olivier Veran tweeted last week that the government would “soon” look at making booster shots available to people over 40.

As Austria and the Netherlands re-enter partial lockdown and Belgium also tightens vaccine rules the French have been bracing for new restrictions.

Earlier this month, Macron announced that from mid-December people over 65 would require a booster shot if they want to continue using vaccine passes to gain entry to bars, restaurants, cinemas and other public venues.

France has one of the strictest vaccination regimes in Europe, with the passes required to take intercity trains, visit museums and go to gyms, among other amenities.

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