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HEALTH

Latest: How to get a Covid-19 booster dose appointment in France

The French government has said that you now only need to wait three months since your last injection before becoming eligible for a booster shot. With demand for appointments surging, read our guide on how to get your dose.

Vials of Pfizer vaccine in a French hospital. Demand for vaccines has been soaring in France. Read our guide on how to get an appointment ASAP.
Demand for vaccines has been soaring in France. Read our guide on how to get an appointment ASAP. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP)

As part of the ongoing fight against Covid-19, the French government has said that you now only need to wait three months since your previous dose before getting a booster shot. This waiting time was previously set at four months. 

From January 15th, health passes for those over the age of 18 begin to be deactivated and made invalid if they have not received a Covid booster shot within seven months of their second dose of the vaccine. This rule already applies to people over the age of 65. 

There is a handy online tool to allow you to know when you need a booster dose HERE. If you use the TousAntiCovid app, the home-screen will change colour as you are approaching the date when you must get another shot. 

READ ALSO France sets 7 month limit on Covid health pass and opens up booster jabs to all

The government also plans to implement a vaccine pass, to replace the health pass, from mid-January. This would mean that negative Covid test results would not longer be able to be used as a replacement for a full course of vaccination as a means to enter various public venues. 

These new rules mean that there has been a surge in demand for vaccine appointments. Some people have reported lengthy waiting times and lamented the lack of availability of appointments near them.  

But there are some things you can do to speed up the process: 

Walk-in booster shots for the over 65s

On Monday 6th December Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that over 65s would be able to simply walk into vaccination centres without an appointment, to receive on-the-spot vaccination. But, again, anecdotal reports from over-65s trying to get their booster before their health pass becomes invalid around the country suggest that the reality on the ground is very different.

Officially, unvaccinated people can also receive their first shot without making an appointment. 

Moderna booster

Some over-30s attending some vaccine centres in France are being offered the unwanted Moderna vaccine, even if they have requested a dose of Pfizer on booking their appointment. Reports again suggest that some people are rejecting this option, prefering the Pfizer dose which is by far the most commonly injected vaccine against Covid-19 in France. 

The regular route

When it comes to actually booking appointments, the process is the same as it has always been.

You can book a vaccine appointment either a vaccine centre (although some of the larger ones have closed since the summer), your GP/family doctor or a pharmacy. You can book appointments for GPs and pharmacies in person or by phone, or you can book online for appointments at all three venue types.

READ MORE Who is now eligible for a Covid vaccine booster in France?

You can also book via DoctolibFrance’s most used booking app/website. It is important to check Doctolib regularly and under the availabilities section of the search tool, to tick dans les trois prochains jours (‘in the next three days’).

It’s worth checking doctolib regularly because new appointment slots are made available frequently.

All of these options are relatively straightforward but don’t get around the problem of soaring demand. 

ViteMaDose 

ViteMaDose is an app and website that allows you to search for the next available vaccine appointments based on your postcode, commune or département

It works by aggregating data from from most of the vaccine sites in France as well as online booking platforms, such as Doctolib

Once you have identified the next available slot in your area using the search bar, you must then book an appointment via the ‘regular route’ described above. 

Covidliste 

Covidliste is another app and website that sends you an alert when a vaccine appointment becomes available near you. It already has more than one million users. 

When a vaccine administrator finds that they have doses available, they contact Covidliste. The organisation then sends out an email to all of its subscribers (subscription is free) to let them know. By the end of the day, if doses are still available, the site will then send out a further alert via SMS. 

READ MORE Can you get a Covid vaccine booster without a French carte vitale?

The advantage of this site is that it allows you to directly accept an appointment via the booking link sent out to you by email/SMS. 

The analogue method 

It doesn’t hurt to ask you local pharmacist, either by phone or in-person, about when the next vaccine appointment is available in your area. 

Not all pharmacists and other vaccine administrators are hooked up to the booking websites, meaning that there may be doses waiting for you that are simply not listed online. The only way to know whether this is the case is by calling your pharmacy directly. 

Will boosters be effective against the new Omicron variant?

The French government insists that while booster shots do not entirely prevent infection from the Omicron variant, they do help to avoid people falling seriously ill following transmission.

“Vaccination remains at the heart of our strategy,” said Jean Castex on Monday.  “It prevents serious forms of Covid-19.”

According to the early laboratory research using blood serum from vaccinated people, a booster third dose generated around the same level of antibodies against Omicron as is seen after a second dose with other variants.

 

Member comments

  1. Our local pharmacy told us we couldn’t get an appointment until February. So (FYI), I asked the local Infirmieres and they have arranged an appointment in our local medical centre before Christmas – we live in the countryside

  2. so to update the health pass with the booster shot that I received two weeks ago, when I get to Paris do I just go to a pharmacy? and show them my updated CDC card? I already have the French health pass. thanks you

  3. Had the Pfizer booster, because Janssen does not do one, on Tuesday, since Wednesday not stopped pissing and shitting. No problem with the first vaccination, so thanks Castex👿

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PROPERTY

New French State aid to help older people make home improvements

A new accessibility scheme recently announced by the French government gives grants for home improvements such as installing a stair lift or widening a doorframe to allow wheelchair access - here is how you could benefit.

New French State aid to help older people make home improvements

According to a recent survey in France, the vast majority of retired people expressed a desire to stay in their homes long-term, rather than entering a care facility.

While there are several schemes by the French government to provide assistance for renovating homes in order to make them more accessible for elderly people, the newly announced “MaPrimeAdapt” seeks to streamline the process.

When was it announced?

MaPrimeAdapt was part of President Emmanuel Macron’s re-election campaign, with plans for it first announced by the president last November.

Most recently, the government aid was earmarked to receive funding in the upcoming 2023 budget, which also hopes to increase the number of nursing home employees, as well as boost public funding for care centres.

The budget is set to allocate €35 million to the National Housing Agency (ANAH) in 2023. In response, the ministry of housing said to Capital France that one of their top priorities is “a single aid for the adaptation of housing to ageing” that would replace several existing government subsidies.

What is the goal of Ma Prime Adapt?

Similar to Ma Prime Renov, this programme hopes to provide additional funding for home refurbishment.

But while Ma Prime Renov focuses on environmentally friendly home adaptations, Ma Prime Adapt aims to make it simpler for older people or those with disabilities to refurbish their homes in order to maintain their autonomy and avoid falls.  

The French government also aims to reduce the number of fatal or disabling falls of people aged 65 by at least 20 percent by 2024, and by 2032, the goal is for at least 680,000 homes to be adapted, particularly those of low-income older people.

Who can benefit?

According to reporting by Le Monde, this aid is not solely reserved for people who already have decreased mobility. 

Instead, it is intended for older people generally. When applying, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are an independent retiree and need (this could be based on income, age, health, etc) to adapt their housing in order to make it more accessible.

The amount of assistance offered will be means-tested based on financial status.

What types of work would qualify?

Some examples of work that might qualify for assistance might be:

  • adapting the bathroom (for example, adding grab bars or enlarging the door)
  • replacing the bathtub with a shower
  • installing a bathtub with a door
  • installing a stair lift
  • adding access ramps to the home

The benefit is not limited to those options – any project that aims to increase home accessibility for a senior could qualify, as long as it is not simply aesthetic-focused.

Can it be combined with Ma Prime Renov?

They have different criteria, but Ma Prime Renov and Ma Prime Adapt can be combined in order to provide maximum support to elderly people wishing to adapt and stay in their homes.

How can I apply?

In order to apply, you will be required to meet the conditions stated above, in addition to being able to demonstrate that the housing in question is at least 15 years old and that the amount of work being done would cost at least €1,500.

Keep in mind that the renovation will need to be carried out by a recognised building company or contractor – specifically one with the label “RGE.”

You will be able  toapply for the Ma Prime Adapt aid via France’s National Housing Agency (ANAH). A dedicated website will be created to facilitate the process, with a launch date TBC. 

On the site, you will submit an application form that includes the estimates of the work planned. According to Le Monde, €5,600 will be the maximum amount of aid to be offered, and the cost of work will be capped at €8,000. However, this information has not yet been published by the National Housing Agency. 

What have the other available schemes been?

Currently, retirees in France can apply for the “Habiter facile” scheme from the ANAH (Agence Nationale de l’Habitat), which also helps to finance work that promotes the ability of elderly people to remain in their homes.

“Bien vieillir chez soi” is a similar aid scheme which is offered by the CNAV (social security).

The elderly and disabled can also benefit from tax credits on accessibility or home adaptation work. 

These will likely be replaced by Ma Prime Adapt, which will combine all benefits into one package.

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