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Foreign athletes with non-EU shots can compete in France

Foreign athletes fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in their country are allowed to compete in France — whatever shots they have received — as long as they remain in a health bubble upon arrival, the French sports minister said.

Since France introduced a so-called vaccine pass last month making vaccination mandatory to access sports venues and compete, it was unclear whether COVID-19 jabs that have not been approved in the European Union would be accepted.

In a message to The Associated Press on Tuesday, the sports minister said foreign vaccinated athletes “with a complete vaccination scheme in their country” can compete as long as they respect a health bubble protocol including a test within 24 hours before their competition start.

It means that vaccines which are not part of the EU portfolio, like Russia’s Sputnik V or the two Chinese jabs made by Sinovac and Sinopharm, will be accepted by French authorities.

The EU has so far approved five COVID-19 vaccines, including Novavax, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

The sports ministry said that athletes still waiting for a booster shot in their country will also be entitled to take part in international events in France by abiding to the same protocol.

“These measures allow all vaccines athletes, wherever they come from, to participate in competitions in France as long as a sanitary bubble is put in place under the authority of the organizer,” the ministry said.

Under the French law intended to exclude the unvaccinated from stadiums, restaurants, bars and other public places, the country’s vaccine pass is compulsory to enter stadiums, theaters or exhibitions for all spectators, practitioners, French or foreign professionals.

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