Covid-19: France's vaccination rollout explained

Age and physical health are considerations for prioritising vaccination process

29 December 2020
By Connexion journalist

The complicated rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations in France is planned to last for several months. The government has ordered enough doses to vaccinate 100million people - more than enough to inoculate everyone in the country. 

The first phase, which has started already, will see up to 1million high-priority residents aged 75 and over, notably those living in retirement homes, as well as the health professionals who care for them, vaccinated in a process that is expected to last until mid-February.

From mid-February, nearly 14million additional people will become eligible for the vaccine. Priority will be those over 75 who have not already been vaccinated, those over 65 with certain conditions that make them susceptible to more severe reactions to the Covid-19 virus, and caregivers over the age of 50 and/or who have certain health conditions that make them a priority.

No date has been given for the start of the third phase when those who have not already been vaccinated become eligible, but it is expected to begin sometime in the spring. 

The Haute Autorité de santé has said that the vaccine is not currently recommended for pregnant women or those with a history of allergic reactions. Nor are those who have had Covid-19 required to be inoculated as they will have developed natural immunity.

The precise process for phases two and three - such as whether those eligible will receive a letter - have not yet been confirmed, but in the first phase a medical consultation to offer the vaccination and obtain consent is required before the vaccination can be given.

Once this step has been completed, the inoculation is carried out by doctors, or nurses under the supervision of a doctor. A second dose is required after 21 days.

In this first phase, patients in nursing homes, in particular, are being monitored so doctors can report and warn of side effects so that phase two and three processes are clearer. Patients and their families can also report suspected adverse effects.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said that vaccination will be free for everyone living in France who wants it.

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