France clears visitors with Indian-made AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Paris: France will allow international travelers who have received the vaccine made in India by AstraZeneca to enter the country from Sunday.
At the same time, France is stepping up border controls to control the spread of the delta variant and protect hospitals, according to a statement from the Prime Minister on Saturday.
The decision to accept visitors vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine made by India’s Serum Institute came after a global outcry that the European Union’s COVID-19 certificate only recognizes AstraZeneca vaccines made in Europe.
Several other EU countries already accept the Indian version, which is used in particular in the UK and Africa. The varying rules of each country have further complicated the travel season this summer. France still does not recognize vaccinations with Chinese or Russian vaccines, only those authorized by the European drug regulator: those made by Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.
From Sunday, France will also begin requiring that any unvaccinated person arriving from Britain, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Greece or Cyprus test negative within 24 hours for cross the French borders.
Tunisia, Indonesia, Cuba and Mozambique have now been added to France’s “red list” of countries at high risk of the virus, according to Saturday’s statement. However, France will now accept travelers from all Red List countries if they are fully vaccinated.
France has also shortened the time period during which a person is considered fully vaccinated after the second dose, to one week instead of two.
As infections rise again, French President Emmanuel Macron this week ordered all health workers to be vaccinated by September 15 and announced that special COVID-19 passes would be required at all restaurants, bars, hospitals, shopping centers, trains and planes. To get a pass, people must be fully immunized, have recently recovered from the virus, or have a negative virus test again.
The measures have prompted a record number of people to register for vaccinations – but have also angered some groups, and protests are planned against them on Saturday in various French cities.