PARIS, France – France is offering a fourth dose of a coronavirus vaccine to people older than 80 who had their booster more than three months ago, the prime minister said Saturday.

In this file photo taken on February 17, 2021 a nurse administers the Covid-19 vaccine to an elderly patient at the Dunkirk hospital. French Prime Minister announced on March 12, 2022 the opening of the fourth dose of vaccine “to the over 80s who have received their booster dose for more than three months”, in the face of the slight rebound in the Covid epidemic, in an interview with Le Parisien. DENIS CHARLET / AFP

Jean Castex told Le Parisian newspaper that they were nevertheless recommended to keep wearing a face mask as France relaxes its Covid-19 restrictions.

The European nation is on Monday to drop the vaccine pass, proof that someone has been triple vaccinated against the illness, which until now was required to enter public spaces such as cinemas or restaurants.

A similar pass will however be needed to go to a hospital or a retirement home in order to protect the most vulnerable.

Masks will from March 14 only be required on public transport, and no longer be necessary at work or in school.

France has recorded more than 23  million cases of Covid-19 on its soil, more than 140,000 of which were fatal.

President Emmanuel Macron is likely to point to his handling of the pandemic as he campaigns for re-election in polls next month, though Russia’s war on Ukraine has largely overshadowed the campaign.