France Covid-19: Online vaccine reservations open this week
From Thursday January 14, those aged 75 and over will be able to book appointments for Covid vaccinations online and by telephone
Stanislas Niox-Château, co-founder and president of Doctolib, told news source FranceInfo the reservation system would be “very simple, and very accessible”.
French vaccination rollout growing
The online reservation system for over 75s will run alongside current government efforts to vaccinate those most vulnerable to the virus, including patients and staff in elderly care homes and health workers aged over 50.
It will also run alongside a wider system announced by Health Minister Olivier Véran last week, in which people of all ages will be able to sign up to get a vaccine using doses that would otherwise go to waste at the end of the day.
Simple online system for eligible members of public
Mr Niox-Château said that reservations for vaccinations would be made in the same way as other medical appointments on the Doctolib platform, with the exception of extra questions asked to confirm patients are in the 75-and-over age bracket.
To make an appointment patients must create a log-in and then browse through a list of options on the site, before choosing the option that best suits them.
People can make appointments for both the injection and the later booster at the same time via the site, and family members can also make appointments for each other. Appointments can also be modified or cancelled online if needed.
There is no charge for making appointments on Doctolib, and vaccination is completely covered by l’Assurance Maladie.
Mr Niox-Château said: “The objective is that people can make appointments in two clicks in a very simple way.”
Patients can choose preferred medical centre
Current Doctolib search filters allow patients to search for medical appointments by location, medical centre, type of appointment or medical professional. Patients can then choose from a range of options that meet their requirements.
Asked whether the Doctolib site would automatically direct patients to a testing centre, Mr Niox-Château said: “Absolutely not… Patients will be completely free to choose a vaccination centre close to them or not.”
However the site only lists partner practicians and medical centres – meaning those who pay a fee to sign up for the site – so appointments are not available with all doctors.
And, on January 14, appointments will only be available in approved vaccination centres, GPs (médcin traitants) will not be listed on the site as they are not yet authorised by the state to give the Covid vaccines.
“This option is ready [to become available] as soon as GPs are authorised to manage vaccinations”, Mr Niox-Château said.
A list of vaccination centres in France is available on the Santé.fr website.
Appointments also available by phone
Telephone numbers for making reservations directly with vaccination centres will also be made available on online platforms on January 14.