Fact check: Can you get a Covid-19 vaccine without an appointment in France?

According to Health Minister Olivier Véran, you can simply walk a French vaccine centre and get your dose "within 10 minutes" - but is it right that you don't need an appointment?

Fact check: Can you get a Covid-19 vaccine without an appointment in France?
People waiting for their appointments at a vaccination centre. Photo: Bertrand Guay | AFP

“You have 1,500 centres waiting for you, you can go without an appointment,” Véran said on Tuesday. “If you go there this morning and say, ‘I want to be vaccinated’, you have every chance of being vaccinated within 10 minutes or 15 minutes.”

A day earlier, he had tweeted a similar message, saying “Hesitation, wait-and-see, and fear of the vaccine are exposing all of us to the variants. Get vaccinated, with or without an appointment.”

However, it’s not every vaccine centre that operates a walk-in policy.

Generally speaking, anyone who wants to be vaccinated needs to make an appointment, which can be easily done online. The advice is to check whether a centre offers walk-in vaccinations before turning up unannounced. 

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

However it’s also true that this is in the process of changing and more and more sans rendez-vous (no appointment) vaccines centres are opening up.

There’s also a concerted effort to make vaccines easy to access, so sites are being set up in supermarkets, shopping malls or in smaller town centres when the market is on.

And if you’re watching the Tour de France, you will see a ‘vaccine truck’ following the route – a mobile vaccine centre that offers the jab to race spectators without the need for advance booking.

There are also centres set up targeting hard-to-reach or vulnerable groups, such as in homeless shelters, soup kitchens and charity outreach centres.

ALSO READ: What lies behind the slowing of vaccination rates in France?

Other temporary centres have opened up in recent weeks.

For example, football fans could be vaccinated in the Paris suburb of Poissy (Yvelines), while the round-of-16 match between France and Switzerland was taking place. Pity anyone getting their jab during the penalty shootout…

The CHU hospital at Limoges offered walk-in vaccinations for four days, while the Bordeaux-Lac Exhibition Centre offered a similar service on afternoons between June 24th and 27th – and the town of Colmar has offered a week of walk-in vaccinations.

A drive-through vaccination centre has opened for five afternoons a week across two weeks at the Aubrais train station (Loiret). It is hoped it will be able to inoculate 2,400 people a week. 

For now, such examples are the exception rather than the rule – but it seems they will become more common over the summer, as the push to maintain and improve vaccination rates continues.

ALSO READ: Does it matter if your French Covid vaccination certificate is in your maiden name?

“The development of walk-in slots is a national goal,” a spokesperson for the direction générale de la santé told Franceinfo – but added that it was ‘not yet possible’ to ‘draw up a consolidated assessment of the walk-in system.

Member comments

  1. Yes. I just walked into my chemist, asked if they had the Vaccine Janssen, they said yes and did I want it now. Twenty minutes I was driving home. It took longer to scan the code into my phone and set up the TousAntiCovid application

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What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer


But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.