The new tool that calculates when you will get a Covid vaccine in France

An online calculator has been launched which allows people in France to see when they will be able to get the Covid vaccine - and the verdicts are better than you might think.

The new tool that calculates when you will get a Covid vaccine in France
Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

The online calculator takes your personal information including age, medical conditions and whether you are a keyworker and uses that to place you in the ‘queue’ based on France’s priority system.

It then takes data on the current French vaccine rate and the expected vaccine uptake and uses these to calculate the likely date when you will get your vaccine.

The calculator’s estimate for someone who is currently at the back of the queue – 30 years old with no underlying health conditions and not working in a keyworker occupation – is receiving the first vaccine between August and November this year and the second dose within three weeks of the first. 

While that may seem like a long time to wait it is at least within this calendar year, unlike neighbouring Switzerland where the calculator is predicting that most people won’t be vaccinated until 2022. It’s later than the government’s target of offering the vaccine to everyone by the end of August, but only a couple of months later.

The tool has been developed by a team from the University of Vienna. 

The team, made up of researchers Bogna Szyk, Philip Maus and Salam Moubarak, developed a tool to see how long vaccination would take in the United Kingdom. 

15 million hits later, and they’ve tailored it to several countries including France. 

“It all started when we launched such a computer for Great Britain in December,” said Szyk. 

“Since then we have had 15 million visitors to the website. That showed us how important this topic is for everyone.”

There are, however, a lot of variables to the data the calculator is using for France.

Vaccination rates

The calculator is basing its estimate on the current weekly vaccination rate in France, which is 1.5 million injections a week or 220,000 a day, seven days a week.

This is broadly in line with vaccination rates, which had risen over the past week and received a boost since the mass mobilisation of weekend vaccinations from the beginning of March. 

On March 15th, 10 percent of the French population had received at least one injection and 4.3 percent had received both.

The government’s plan is to increase daily vaccination rates in the weeks to come, thanks to a combination of an increase in delivery of doses via the EU programme and the start of the vaccination programme in French pharmacies.

READ ALSO How to book a vaccine appointment at the pharmacy

If both these things happen, vaccination rates will increase and the government may be getting closer to its August target, especially after the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires a single dose.

However, vaccination numbers for this week will take a hit due to the suspension of administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine for at least three days – longer if the European Medicines Agency’s report on Thursday is not positive. 

Even if the programme restarts on Friday, there are concerns that the suspension may have affected public confidence in the vaccine, which could lead to lower take-up.

Vaccine take-up

The calculator bases its estimate on a vaccine take-up among the French population of 56 percent, which is what the latest polls show of people saying they definitely intend to be vaccinated.

This is a problem for the French government, because a minimum of 60 percent of the population of any country needs to be vaccinated to achieve immunity.

Efforts have begun to persuade the French people to be vaccinated including an advertising campaign.

If the take-up is greater than the polls show that will be good news for France as a whole, but will make queues longer so will push back estimated vaccination dates.

Logistical problems

The French rollout got off to an extremely slow start and although it is now speeding up, plenty of issues remain.

The over 75s group and those with serious health issues are eligible to receive the vaccine now, but many people have reported great difficulty in securing an appointment at their local vaccine centre, with phones going unanswered and online booking systems crashing. 

In short, being at the front of the queue and actually getting the vaccine into your arm are not always the same thing.

READ ALSO The essential French vocab for getting a Covid vaccination 

Priority groups

Your estimated date also depends on priority groups, which for the later stage of the vaccine rollout are not fixed.

At present anyone over 75 or with a serious medical condition is eligible to be vaccinated at a vaccine centre, while health workers, emergency workers and home helps who work with vulnerable groups can be vaccinated via their employer.

People aged between 50 and 74 can get the vaccine from their GP or from the pharmacy (by appointment) if they have an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, hypertension or a BMI or 30 or above. The next group to become eligible will be healthy 50-74-year-olds, although there is no start date for that.

After that, the vaccine programme moves into the ‘everyone else’ phase, although within that the government has said it will prioritise non-medical keyworkers such as teachers and retail staff, people in precarious living situations like the homeless and people in communal living situations such as students before moving on to the population at large.

You can find the calculator HERE.

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