EXPLAINED: How to sign up for spare Covid vaccine doses in France

The rollout of anti-Covid-19 vaccines in France is speeding up, but many people are still struggling to arrange an appointment for their dose. Two new online tools may be able to help.

EXPLAINED: How to sign up for spare Covid vaccine doses in France
A pharmacist prepares a Covid-19 vaccine injection in Savenay, western France, on April 2nd. Photo: Loic VENANCE / AFP

As France strives to speed up its vaccination programme, the French government fears that 25 to 30 percent of doses will be lost due to logistical constraints.

“Never throw away a dose, it is the basic rule,” said Health Minister Olivier Véran at press conference on March 25th.

However, at the end of the day, vaccination centres can end up with unused doses, for example if some patients do not turn up for their appointment made via the official site. 

UPDATED: When will you be eligible for the Covid vaccine in France?

Two newly launched tools may help counter such waste.

1. Vite ma dose ! 

The Vite ma dose ! (Quick, my dose!) website, developed by Guillaume Rozier, the French data scientist behind the successful Covid Tracker site, automatically detects the next available vaccination appointments in a given area of France.

READ ALSO: CovidTracker: Who is the 24-year-old behind France’s most viewed Covid graphs?


Who can use it?

This is for people who are currently eligible for a vaccine under France’s priority system. Eligible groups include over 70s, people with seriously illnesses of all ages, or people aged 50-74 with medical conditions such as diabetes or a BMI of 30 or above – you can find the full list of eligible groups HERE. Essentially this app is for people who qualify for the vaccine, but are struggling to find a vacant slot in their area.

How does it work?

Vite ma dose! allows users to scan, by département, vaccination slots available on Doctolib, in order to make an appointment quickly. 

Doctolib is a medical website and app already widely used in France for booking vaccination appointments, as well as Covid tests or regular doctors’ visits.

READ ALSO: How to book an appointment for the Covid-19 vaccine in France

To find the next appointment available on Vite ma dose !, users enter the department of their choice:

Photo: Vite ma dose ! / Covid Tracker

The website then shows a list of the upcoming available vaccination appointments in the selected area.

The example below is from a search of appointments available in Paris, March 6th, at 8.45am.

Photo: Vite ma dose ! / Covid Tracker

The information is updated several times a day.

By clicking “prendre rendez-vous” (make an appointment), the site directs the user straight to the Doctolib site to make the appointment.

2. The Covidliste website

Another new tool is the website Covidliste, which was created by two French data scientists and allows users to sign up to get an alert when unused doses of vaccine are available in their area.

Who can use it?

This is for everyone, even if they don’t currently qualify for a vaccine. It’s intended to eliminate waste by directing people to areas that have leftover doses or unfilled vaccine slots. You will need to be able to travel to an appointment at short notice, however.

How does it work?

All a user has to do is to enter their name, date of birth, address and contact information, and they will be placed on a waitlist for an inoculation.

The website sends an email with a link to confirm the appointment. If you sign up and don’t receive an email, check your spam folders.

Covidliste is open to anyone, not just those already qualified for a vaccination dose.

“When a patient misses an appointment, the already opened bottle must be consumed quickly,” the site states, explaining that the goal is to avoid wasting doses.

According to the website, nearly 271 318 people had signed up to receive doses on Monday, March 6th – up from 37,000 on Friday, April 2nd.

Where is France at with its vaccination scheme?

After a sluggish start, France’s vaccination programme has sped up.

“We had an objective of 10 million receiving their first dose vaccinated on April 15th,” Health Minister Véran told French TV channel TF1 on Monday. “Not only will we achieve this objective but we will even anticipate it by a few days.”

Over 9 million first doses had been administered on March 4th, according to Vaccine Tracker.

In total, over 13.6 million doses have been administered.

That meant nearly 14 percent of the population had received at least one dose while nearly 5 percent had received both doses and are fully vaccinated.

As 38 new mass vaccination centres – so-called vaccinodromes – open across the country, the government is hoping to accelerate the process further, including the Stade de France which opened as a vaccine centre on Tuesday, April 6th.



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French vocab and prices: Your guide to visiting the dentist in France

From finding a dentist to treatment costs, plus the crucial bits of French vocab, here's everything you need to know about visiting the dentist in France.

French vocab and prices: Your guide to visiting the dentist in France

The dentist – as unjustly dreaded in France as they are anywhere else in the world.

But, while few, if any, of us enjoy visiting our friendly, neighbourhood chirurgien-dentiste, we all know that it’s important to care for our teeth and gums, so here’s what you need to know.

How to make an appointment

A simple web search for a dentiste or chirurgien-dentiste will bring up the contact details of local professionals. Then it’s a case of ringing up to make an appointment. There is no need to be registered with a dentist, you can visit anyone who has a free appointment, although you may prefer to keep your appointments with the same person if you are  having ongoing treatment.

Alternatively, sites such as Doctolib may allow you to book a slot online.

If you’re worried about remembering your French verb conjugation while you have a mouth full of blood, Doctolib also lets you know which languages your dentist speaks.

READ ALSO How to use the French medical website Doctolib

How much it costs

The government-set going rate for a dental check-up is €23 for dentists working in the public health system – which most do. As a result, 70 percent of that fee, paid at the time of the consultation, will be reimbursed for anyone who holds a carte vitale.

Check-ups last as long as the dentist needs to examine your teeth. If no additional work is required, it’s just a few minutes in the chair.

If you require additional work, then how much you pay goes up – along with the time it takes. A basic filling, for example, costs €26.97, of which €18.88 is reimbursed. Descaling adds €28.92 to the initial bill, but is again partially reimbursed.

The upfront cost of root canal work on a molar, meanwhile, is €81.94, while extraction of a permanent tooth costs €33.44. 

The full price list is available on the Ameli website.

For any procedure that costs more than €70, your dentist will provide you with a written estimate, along with a number of options. 

Remember, these prices are for dentists operating in the state sector. Fees at private practices are higher.

What about crowns, implants or dentures?

Your dentist might offer you the option of a crown or implant instead of the basic treatments of fillings and extractions, but these are expensive and are usually not covered on the carte vitale, so here whether or not you have a mutuelle is important.

The top-up health cover known as a mutuelle – find more details here – will generally offer dental cover, but exactly what is covered depends on your policy.

If you require special treatment, make sure to consult the price list, as you will often have to pay up front before you can claim anything back. 

Dental hygienist/teeth-cleaning

If you like to visit the dentist regularly for a scale and polish you will need to check whether your dentist’s cabinet employs a hygiéniste dentaire (dental hygienist).

Most practices do but not all. If you’re going to a new practice it’s generally better to make an appointment first with the dentist for a check-up, and then ask for regular hygienist appointments.

Useful vocabulary

Dental surgery – un cabinet dentaire

Emergency dentist – un dentiste de service

I would like to make an appointment – je voudrais prendre un rendez-vous

I would like a check-up – je voudrais une visite de contrôle

It is an emergency – c’est une urgence

A tooth – une dent

Wisdom teeth – les dents de sagesse

A filling – une plombage or un pansement

une dévitalisation – root canal

I have broken a tooth – je me suis cassé une dent

I have a toothache – j’ai mal aux dents

My gums are bleeding – Mes gencives saignent

I have a cavity – J’ai une carie

My gums hurt – J’ai mal aux gencives

This one hurts – Celle-là me fait mal

These ones hurt – Celles-là me font mal

An abscess – Percer un abcès

Nerve – le nerf

An extraction – une extraction

Injection – une injection/une piqûre

Local anaesthetic – une anesthésie locale

Denture/s – les dentier/s or une prothèse dentaire/les prothèses dentaires

A crown – une couronne

A bridge – un bridge

ARRRRRRGH – AIIIIIIIIE (hopefully you won’t need this one)