Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine now available from GPs and pharmacies in France

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can now be administered by GPs, pharmacists, nurses and midwives across France.

An older woman receives an injection of Covid-19 vaccine in her arm from a medical professional
Photo: Thomas Coex / AFP

It is by far the most popular Covid-19 vaccine in France – and now GPs and pharmacists can order doses to inject patients, after previously only being available from hospitals and vaccine centres.

The first vials were delivered to surgeries and pharmacies for use from Friday, October 8th. It is hoped that more holdouts will be persuaded to get the vaccine now that it can be administered by their GP, or by a nurse in their own home and reinvigorate the rapidly slowing vaccination campaign against the deadly virus.

The arrival of the Pfizer vaccine at doctors’ offices and chemists coincides with the start of France’s annual flu vaccine campaign, which begins at the end of the month. The two jabs may be administered at the same time.

READ ALSO: How to get the flu vaccine in France this winter

Although nearly 50 million people, or 72 percent of the total French population, have had complete doses of Covid-19 vaccine, and nearly 75 percent at least one dose (87.1 and 84.4 percent of eligible inhabitants ie those aged 12 and over) the pace of the booster campaign for people over 65 and immunocompromised is too slow, according to the government, while 12.8 percent of eligible people – or 7.8 million people – are still to have any dose.

So far, some 896,000 people have received a booster third dose since the beginning of the school year, out of 3 to 4 million who are eligible. The government considers that figure to be “insufficient”, according to government spokesman, Gabriel Attal.

The government is counting on this switch to GPs, nurses and pharmacies, to replace the large vaccination centres, many of which are now closing because of a decrease in the number of available volunteers.

READ ALSO: Who gets a Covid vaccine booster shot in France

GPs or family doctors will be able to offer first, second or third (booster) injections as required.

“Being able to offer Pfizer in doctors’ offices, in pharmacies and by nurses, it helps convince many more people.” Gilles Bonnefond, of the Union des syndicats de pharmaciens, told franceinfo.

“With Moderna there was sometimes a certain reluctance … even though it is just as effective.”

When it was first distributed, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had to be stored at -70C, a temperature that meant it was impossible for doctors to store. Developments mean it can now be stored for up to a month in a refrigerator.

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More than 100,000 protest Macron’s plan to ‘piss off the unvaccinated’

More than 100,000 people across France protested on Saturday over what they say are government plans to further restrict the rights of the unvaccinated.

More than 100,000 protest Macron's plan to 'piss off the unvaccinated'
Demonstrators hold a banner reading " The youth piss off the vaccine front " during a protest against the health pass on Saturday. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP

The protest came only days after French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to “piss off” those refusing the jab.

The turnout was four times higher than the numbers who answered the December 18 call to protest, when 25,500 people marched across the country, according to government estimates.

The protests oppose a planned law that will require individuals to prove they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus before they can eat out, travel on inter-city trains or attend cultural events.

On Thursday, France’s lower house of parliament passed the controversial bill in a first reading. The government has said it expects the new requirements to be implemented by January 15, although lawmakers in the Senate could now delay the process.

About 18,000 protesters gathered in Paris. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP

Interior ministry officials said 105,200 people participated in Saturday’s protests across France, 18,000 of them in the capital Paris, where police reported 10 arrests and three officers slightly injured. Elsewhere there were 24 arrests and seven police officers lightly injured according to the ministry.

Among the larger demonstrations, around 6,000 demonstrators turned out in Toulon, while in Montpellier police used teargas during clashes with protesters.


France recorded 303,669 new coronavirus cases on Saturday amid mounting pressure on hospitals.

The Paris protesters, many of them unmasked, braved the cold and rain brandishing placards emblazoned with the word “truth” and “No to vaccine passes”.

Others took aim at Macron, using the same coarse language he employed in his attack on people holding out against vaccination earlier in the week.

Macron said Friday that he fully stands by controversial remarks he made on Tuesday, when he vowed to “piss off” people not vaccinated against Covid-19 until they accept shots.

The earthy language and uncompromising approach provoked uproar in French media and from opponents.