French Vaccine Passports: Warning For Fall Family Holidays
Anyone planning to take a holiday in France from 1 October onwards could face problems if they are traveling with children over the age of 12–if the children are not vaccinated.
France is using the Pass Sanitaire (a health pass) to enable access to cultural venues, such as cinemas, as well as all restaurants and bars, for employees as well as customers. Hospital visitors need one (except in emergencies) and all passengers of long-distance trains, buses and on domestic airlines. It is in use at all theme parks such as Disneyland Paris.
In order to enter these places and go about general tourist pursuits, people must show their pass sanitaire, which confirms that they have had Covid-19, have been vaccinated against it, or have had a negative Covid-19 test result in the past 72 hours.
In order to avoid continuous testing, most people have chosen to get vaccinated in order to eat out and travel over the summer. Whilst protests are still taking place every weekend across France against the measure, the policy has been successful in encouraging vaccination. As of 2 September, 77.8% of the French population, aged 12 and above, had completed a course of vaccination. France has been vaccinating the over-12s since 15 June.
Crucially, until the end of September, a pass sanitaire is not needed for children aged between 12 and 17. However, from 1 October onwards, children above 12 will need to show their health status before being allowed in a restaurant with their family–which might seriously restrict family holidays if under 18s are not vaccinated. Children under 12 will remain unaffected and can still enter these establishments.
If children over 12 are not vaccinated, they can test every 72 hours, although these tests are no longer free, so this would add to the cost of the holiday, as well as adding a significant hassle factor. The other option would be to avoid places where a pass sanitaire is required, but these are few and far between.
Under French rules, the following vaccines are allowed (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca–including Covishield–or Johnson & Johnson) and the final dose of the vaccine must be more than seven days in the past.
U.S. travelers who would like to visit and need a pass sanitaire, can convert their vaccination documents so that they work in the mobile application for use across France.
France is currently operating a traffic light system for travel restrictions, with adjustments for vaccinated individuals.