French Health Minister Olivier Veran said Thursday that Covid-19 booster shots would be made available to all adults from this weekend to counter a new wave of infections.
Until now they have only been available to people over 65, health workers or people with health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to Covid.
Veran added that from January 15, people aged over 18 would need to show proof of a top-up vaccine dose to maintain a valid Covid pass, which is required to enter restaurants, bars, gyms and other public venues.
He ruled out imposing another lockdown or a curfew at this stage in the fight against a fifth wave of infections, which he described as “stronger and longer” than the previous wave this summer.
“We can get through this wave without using the most restrictive tools” used by some European countries to fight the spread of the virus, Veran said.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government plans instead to keep up pressure on people to get immunised and to reinforce rules on mask-wearing, which had been relaxed in recent months as vaccination rates soared.
From Friday, masks will once again be required in all closed public spaces, including venues that are only accessible with a Covid pass, Veran said.
He added that local authorities could also make them compulsory at some outdoor events, such as Christmas markets.
The number of daily new cases in France has rocketed in recent days, hitting a seven-month high of 32,591 on Wednesday.
But the number of critical cases in hospital remains at a manageable level.