SHARE
COPY LINK

VACCINES

EXPLAINED: How under 50s in France can book a Covid vaccine appointment

People aged under 50 in France are now eligible to get a Covid-19 vaccine if there are last minute appointment slots available. Here's what we know about how the system works.

EXPLAINED: How under 50s in France can book a Covid vaccine appointment
A healthcare student gets her vaccination dose. Photo: Fred TANNEAU / AFP

When?

This opened on Tuesday, May 11th, one day early.

What’s new?

France on Tuesday May 11th opened up its Covid-19 vaccination programme to allow all over 18s to book an appointment for an injection if there were any spare doses or appointment slots that had not been taken.

President Emmanuel Macron announced the move last Thursday but it came into place one day ahead of schedule.

What about normal appointments?

People who are already eligible can book in the normal way for an appointment days or even weeks in advance.

Those eligible currently are:

  • All over 50s
  • All healthcare and emergency workers
  • Anyone aged between 18 and 50 who has a health condition including severe asthma, diabetes or a BMI of 30 or above. Find the full list HERE.

Why the new move?

The idea is to avoid wasted doses and fill up vacant slots to increase the overall rate of vaccinations. While many people in eligible groups have reported struggling to find an appointment in their local area – and this website can help if you are having difficulty – there were also unfilled appointments in some areas, especially at the larger vaccine centres.

The government has so far resisted the call to open up vaccines to everyone, insisting that it is best to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups first, as this will have the greatest impact on death and hospitalisation rates.

But it has hit on this compromise measure to avoid any doses going to waste.

How?

From Tuesday if you can find any appointment going spare on Wednesday you can book it, even if you are not in an eligible group. 

Members of the public can now use the site Doctolib to reserve appointments. Simply tick the Public non-prioritaire box “For over 18s for appointments available between now and tomorrow evening.”

Doctolib says that all bookings can be made via its website or mobile phone app and there is no need to go on line at a certain time.

They also need to enter their town or postcode which will bring up any spare appointment slots near their home.

You then need to book an appointment for that day or the following day. There is no option to just turn up at your local vaccine centre.

Extra help

In what is likely to be a scramble for available slots, a helping hand is on the way. 

The website Vitemadose, set up by data scientist Guillaume Rozier also has a new function Chronodoses, which allows you to search for last minute appointments.

This 25-year-old data scientist is becoming something of a hero in France, first for his easy-to-understand breakdowns of the latest Covid data and then for the website Vite Ma Dose, which has helped numerous people to find an appointment near them. He’s also credited as being an influence on the government’s decision to open up vaccines to more groups, in order to avoid wasted doses.

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

Rozier announced the creation of a new site – ChronoDose – which will help people find last-minute appointments in an interview on RMC.

The new function became available from Tuesday on the Vite Ma Dose site – vitemadose.covidtracker.fr

It works in a similar way to Vite Ma Dose, which scans all the various different platforms offering appointments and then presents a list of the nearest based on the user’s postcode. The user is then sent to the relevant site to book the available appointment.

Over-18s select “Chronodoses uniquement” to see the upcoming free appointments for the next 24 hours and book one closest to them. 

Member comments

  1. If I get the first dose in this manner by using the last minute appointment, what is the process for the second dose? Will it follow the process as others or should i wait for a last minute appointment for it as well?

  2. You get the date for the second appointment when you book the first. If you are over 55 I get the impression you can choose by where you get vaccinated. It says which vaccines they give at a certain place. Under 55 not allowed Astrazeneca and J&J in France.

  3. We had our first vaccination in March of Astrazenika at our doctors surgery. Our second was due to be Saturday 8th May, which was cancelled and changed to 29th May. I am concerned that this will also be changed, in which case do we get a Pfizer for the second or what?

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

HEALTH

Experts warn of high levels of flu in France this winter

Experts have warned of a particularly bad flu epidemic this winter in France due to a combination of lowered immune systems and 'vaccine apathy' - urging high-risk groups to get their shot as soon as the flu vaccination campaign begins in October.

Experts warn of high levels of flu in France this winter

France’s annual flu vaccine campaign will officially get under way on October 18th this year – and medical experts have warned that this year’s season may be a bad one amid fears of “vaccine apathy”.

When, where and how to get flu shots and Covid boosters in France this autumn

Immunologist Alain Fischer, who chaired France’s Conseil d’orientation de la stratégie vaccinale throughout the Covid-19 pandemic said that the high number of flu cases in Australia and the southern hemisphere in its winter were “a warning sign” that this winter’s flu, coupled with rising cases of Covid-19, could lead to a sharp rise in hospitalisations again in the winter.

“For two years, influenza has been kept at bay, thanks to the barrier measures we have put in place against Covid,” he told Le Parisien. 

“This year, it will be difficult to maintain the same level of protection: masks, distancing, intensive hand washing … Faced with this relaxation, there is a serious risk of flu epidemic.”

Between two million and six million people contract flu every winter in France. The infection is responsible for between 4,000 and 6,000 deaths every year, usually among people aged 65 and over. But in ‘bad’ flu years, that mortality figure can rise rapidly.

READ ALSO When, where and how to get flu shots and Covid boosters this autumn in France

The country, meanwhile, is at the start of what is being described as an “eighth wave” of Covid, and the Haute Autorité de santé recommends the eligible, vulnerable people ensure they are vaccinated against both viruses as early as possible. “A Covid-flu cohabitation is not a good thing,”  Fischer said. “It is synonymous with a very high number of hospitalisations. 

“Hence the objective of two strong vaccination campaigns – Covid and flu – especially for the most vulnerable.”

“The double injection is very good, and practical for patients. But I think that we should not wait, especially vulnerable people. It is a mistake to think that you will get your Covid booster when the flu vaccine is here – the Covid jab should not be delayed.”

Currently less than 40 percent of people eligible for a fourth Covid vaccine have received their latest dose.

Dual-strain Covid-19 vaccines designed to combat both delta and omicron variants will be available in France from October 3rd.

READ ALSO France approves new vaccines for Covid Omicron sub-variants

“It is quite possible to get your Covid injection in early October and flu vaccine in late October – you will need both anyway,” Fischer said.

The Haute Autorité de Santé recommends influenza vaccination for the following groups:

  • people aged 65 and over; 
  • people with chronic diseases; 
  • pregnant women;
  • people suffering from obesity (BMI equal to or greater than 40 kg/m 2 );
  • Infants under 6 months at risk of serious influenza;
  • Families and others close to immunocompromised people; 
  • home help workers caring for vulnerable individuals.

For anyone in these groups, the flu vaccine is 100 percent covered by health insurance and delivered free of charge to the pharmacy, on presentation of a voucher.

SHOW COMMENTS