President Macron announced on Tuesday that over 65s would need booster jabs in order to retain a valid health pass. He also said that eligibility for booster jabs would be expanded to the over 50s from December. The result, inevitably, has been a spike in demand.
According to statistics from the medical bookings website, Doctolib, 149,084 booster dose appointments were made on Tuesday. Close to two thirds of these appointments were made in the hour directly following Macron’s address.
While it is possible to reserve slots for vaccination directly via your GP, pharmacy or vaccination centre, the vast majority of people book appointments online.
While those aged 50 and over are more likely to be fully vaccinated than younger population groups, they account for 83 percent of those hospitalised in intensive care units, according to Macron.
Age remains an important factor when it comes to the risk of falling seriously ill with Covid-19. As more and more people are vaccinated across age groups, the relative importance of age will increase.
As Europe confronts a fifth wave of the pandemic, the French government sees vaccination as key to making it through a tough winter.
“Thanks to vaccination, we have built a wall against serious forms of coronavirus,” said government spokesman Gabriel Attal on Wednesday morning, in an interview with Franceinfo. “We cannot let this wall crack”
Stripping the health pass away from those over 65s without booster jabs is a significant incentive. Without a health pass or recent negative Covid test, it is impossible to enter bars, restaurants, cinemas, long-distance trains and a variety of other public spaces.
As it stands, health passes will be deactivated for the over 65s if they have still not received a booster dose more than six months and five weeks after their second regular dose.
Health workers, domestic carers, immunodeficient people, those with chronic health conditions and anyone who has had a single-dose Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine are also eligible to receive a booster – but do not currently risk losing their health pass should they fail to do so.