France launches hotline for elderly to get Covid vaccine at home

An older woman in France receives a Covid-19 injection in her left arm from a doctor wearing a facemask
Older people can get their Covid vaccine at home. Photo: Thomas Coex / AFP
Older people living in France can now call a freephone number to arrange a Covid-19 vaccination at home, as the government bids to boost the number of over-80s who are protected against the virus.

More than 500,000 over-80s have not received a single dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to official figures, prompting the government to offer the home vaccination service and freephone booking service.

The freephone helpline – 0800 730 957 – operates from 6am to 10pm seven days a week, and is intended for over-80s and their families to arrange a home visit from a nurse to administer the vaccine.

Call handlers can also answer questions and help alleviate any concerns that older people may have about having the injections.

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“These people are less likely to be followed by a GP and have difficulty travelling,” the Health Ministry said at the launch of the freephone line. “A family carer, home help or any other person willing to help the elderly person can call so that a vaccination at home, or an appointment with a GP or nurse can be proposed.”

Older age groups are less well protected from Covid-19 than younger people, despite being more likely to be hospitalised if they contract the illness. An estimated 10 percent of over-75s have not made an appointment.

As well as those who have yet to be vaccinated, it is hoped that the helpline and home-visit system will also increase the take-up of the booster shot among those already vaccinated.

So far 2.5 million of 6 million eligible people have received their booster.

On Tuesday Health Minister Olivier Véran – who as a doctor was vaccinated back in February – had his third dose, and urged those who are eligible to follow suit.

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Other systems that have been trialled to encourage the remaining cohort of the population to be vaccinated include transport vouchers to help people get to appointments, and letters inviting people to book one of a number of available vaccination slots.

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