SHARE
COPY LINK

VACCINE

How to book an appointment for a Covid vaccine at the pharmacy in France

France's vast network of pharmacies will this week begin administering Covid vaccines in a move that will hopefully speed up the country's extremely sluggish vaccine rollout. So who can access the injection at a pharmacy and how?

How to book an appointment for a Covid vaccine at the pharmacy in France
Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

When?

The pharmacy rollout begins from Monday, March 15th, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced, although the pharmacists’ unions say they are expecting their first deliveries on March 18th or 19th.

Who?

Vaccines at the pharmacy are  not open to everyone at this stage, as France is still prioritising certain groups. 

People aged between 50 and 74 who have an underlying health condition such as diabetes or hypertension, or a BMI or 30 or above, can be vaccinated at the pharmacy. You can find the full list of eligible conditions HERE.

People who have a history of severe allergic reactions, pregnant women and people with blood disorders cannot receive their vaccine at a pharmacy and will have to go to a doctor.

Anyone who has tested positive for Covid in the last three months also cannot be vaccinated, although once the three months has elapsed, people who have previously tested positive only need one dose of the vaccine.

The 50-74 age group can also access the vaccine via their GP, while over 75s or those aged under 50 with very severe medical conditions, such as cancer or transplant patients can access it at vaccine centres or workplace doctors. Pharmacies will be offering only the AstraZeneca vaccine meaning that over 75s – for whom the vaccine is not licensed in France – will have to continue to use vaccine centres which offer the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Healthcare workers, emergency workers and domestic and home helps who work with vulnerable groups can access the vaccine via their employer.

The health minister said vaccines would be opened up to the 50-74 group who do not have underlying illnesses by ‘mid April’.

How?

Pharmacy vaccines are by appointment only, you cannot just turn up.

Exactly how appointments can be made is down to the individual pharmacy, usually by phone or in store. Many pharmacies are already operating waiting lists so that people can sign up to be contacted once appointments are available.

There is also an online booking option at www.covidpharma.fr – here you answer a series of questions about your health and age group and can then search the nearest pharmacy to you offering the vaccine. As of Monday, however, not many pharmacies had signed up to the online service, however. This website links to the online prescription website Ordoclic.

You do not need a prescription for a vaccine and, unlike the winter flu vaccination campaign, you do not need to wait until you receive an invitation or a code from Ameli.

Appointment times

One of the major advantages of pharmacies, as well as their accessibility to the majority of the population, is their long opening hours and weekend opening.

Most pharmacies are open on Saturday and some on Sundays too, although appointment times will depend on the number and availability of staff who are qualified to give vaccinations.

Philippe Bessett, head of the pharmacists union Fédération des Syndicats Pharmaceutiques de France said on Tuesday that 20,000 pharmacies would be ready to begin giving injections at a rate of 20 a day (supplies permitting) – potentially adding up to 2 million jabs a week even without weekend appointments.

The first delivery of doses is set to be between 10 and 20 doses per pharmacy, with more deliveries to follow.

Any pharmacy that offers the winter flu vaccine can sign up to the Covid drive, and almost all have done so.

In spite of reports of ‘vaccine hesitancy’ in France, many pharmacies are already reporting long waiting lists of people who have signed up already, so depending on vaccine supplies and the number of pharmacies in your area, there may be a wait to get an appointment.

Appointments to get the second dose are made in the pharmacy once you have received the first dose.

Cost

The vaccine itself is free, but the pharmacist’s appointment costs €7.90. This is reimbursed in full for all patients who hold a carte vitale.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19

French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The French parliament has passed the controversial health bill which updates France's emergency provisions for Covid - and allows the return of negative Covid tests for all travellers at the border, if the health situation requires.

French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The Loi sanitaire was eventually approved by the Assemblée nationale on Monday after several variations and amendments added on its passage through the Assemblée and the Senate. It was voted on and passed Tuesday, May 26th. 

The bill replaces the State of Health Emergency that has been in place since March 2020 and puts in place provision for government actions should the health situation deteriorate or a dangerous new variant of Covid emerge.

The original text had a provision for the return of the health pass at the border, but this has now been scrapped and instead the government has the right to make a negative Covid test a condition of entry for all travellers.

At present negative tests are required only for unvaccinated travellers, and the new test requirement would only be put into force if a dangerous new variant emerges.

The government will be able to implement the testing rule by decree for two months, but a further parliamentary debate would be required to extend it beyond that.

From August 1st the State of Health Emergency will be formally repealed, which means that the government no longer has the power to introduce major limits on personal freedom such as lockdowns or curfews without first having a debate in parliament.

The bill also allows for an extension of data collection required for the SI-DEP epidemic monitoring tools such as the contact tracing app Tous Anti Covid until June 30th, 2023 and Contact Covid until January 31st, 2023. 

The most controversial measure in the bill was the reinstatement of healthcare workers who were suspended for being unvaccinated – this actually only involves a couple of hundred people but medical unions and the medical regulator Haut Autorité de Santé (HAS) have both been against it.

However the bill allows for the eventual lifting of the requirement for Covid vaccination for healthcare workers, when the HAS judges it is no longer necessary and once the requirement is lifted, the suspended healthcare workers will be reinstated “immediately”.

The bill was approved on Monday evening with 184 votes to 149, the result of a joint committee that was able to harmonise the versions of the Assembly and the Senate.

The final vote passed the Senate on Tuesday.

SHOW COMMENTS