Hundreds of people in the northern Spanish region of the Basque Country have been able to get vaccine appointments through France’s Doctorlib vaccination app, drive over to France and get their inoculation without any hassle.
According to reports in the Spanish media, most of the Spaniards trying this shortcut to Covid immunity are under 35, an age group which is set to be called up for the Covid vaccine in July in Spain.
In France however, vaccines are now open to all adult age groups and the process to register for a vaccine appointment online doesn’t require the applicant to have to give too many details.
This lack of administrative scrutiny means that the Spaniards attempting the crossing are not being asked if they are residents in France, they’re not required to show they have a French social security card and overall few questions are being asked.
An extra incentive for them is that the French hospitals they’re visiting are allowing them to choose which vaccine they receive, something that isn’t allowed by Spanish health authorities.
“I wanted to find out if it was actually possible and it turns out it was,” a young Spaniard told Antena 3 news after getting his jab in the coastal town of Biarritz, where most of these opportunistic Spaniards are heading to get vaccinated in France.
“I went into the app and only had to give very basic details, and I could even choose which vaccine I would get.”
Upon receiving their vaccine, the Spanish nationals are given a document with the date of their second dose, to be administered again in France.
Even though most of those who’ve embarked on this French vaccine quest set off from the Basque province of Gipuzkoa where Bilbao is, other reports say people from as far away as Madrid (500 km from Biarritz) are also embarking on the journey.
They’re all willing as well to pay for and then show a negative Covid test at the French border as is currently required.
It remains unclear whether this loophole is a matter of concern for French health authorities, but there have been vaccine surpluses which would suggest that France can perhaps spare some doses for its Iberian neighbours.
However, not all French hospitals close to the border with Spain are offering vaccinations to non-residents.