French over-65s will need booster Covid jab from December to keep health pass

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In an address to the nation late Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that people over 65 would need to show proof of a Covid-19 booster jab in order to maintain their health pass needed to visit restaurants, attend cultural events and take intercity rail travel.

Since August the pass has become a routine part of life for many people in France, with a complete course of vaccinations generating a QR code that is shown on entry to gain access to venues.

The new rule for over 65s will further tighten what is one of the strictest such regimes in Europe. There were protests in France when the measures were first introduced over the summer but they have since diminished.

"We have not finished with the pandemic," Macron said, saying that while France was currently in a better position than either Germany or the UK, infection rates had gone up 40 percent over the last week.

Macron noted that "all the studies show" that six months after getting the vaccine, "immunity decreases and therefore the risk of developing a serious form (of Covid) increases".

"The solution to this decrease in immunity is an additional vaccine shot," he said.

'Appeal to act responsibility'

He also urged the six million people eligible for the vaccine in France who have not yet even received a first dose to come forward and get the jab.

"This is an appeal to responsibility – get vaccinated," he said.

More than 80 percent of the people in intensive care in France with Covid were aged over 50, Macron said, adding the government would launch a campaign in December for 50-64 year olds to have booster shots.

The President appears eager to make a successful fight against coronavirus to be one of his key boasts in April presidential elections, where he is expected to stand for a second term even though he has yet to declare his candidacy.

Many analysts warned he would face stiff opposition to the Covid pass plan in the summer, but the strategy helped force a significant surge in vaccine take-up.

Macron said France was "one of the most protected countries in the world" due to its vaccine rollout but warned that "we will have to live with this virus until the whole global population is immunised".

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