Paid Covid vaccine help criticised by French patients’ union
Some agencies in France are offering paid packages to help people get vaccinated as many elderly people in the country struggle with busy phone lines and complicated online booking platforms
A French union representing patients in matters of the health system has criticised businesses running paid services to help people get vaccinated against Covid-19, calling it “unethical”.
One company proposing such paid packages is Générale des Services - an agency that offers services such as childcare, deliveries, gardening, etc. to individuals.
Its "Vaccin Tranquille" package allows patients to pay for the agency to book the vaccine appointment, take the patient to the vaccination centre, stay with them during the vaccination and take them home again.
The agency charges €40 for the package but covers 50% of the cost. It states on its website that in a majority of cases, patients can benefit from a 50% tax credit on the remaining €20, leaving a final cost of €10.
But France Assos Santé has criticised this paid service.
“We are shocked by the commercial approach,” Catherine Simonin of France Assos Santé told Franceinfo.
“Abusing these elderly people does not seem very ethical to us.”
She said that elderly people wishing to be vaccinated against Covid-19 can receive help for free from local authorities.
Some towns have also set up free buses to go to vaccination centres.
There are reports in France of people wishing to book vaccination appointments having to wait on the phone for hours over several days to get through to vaccination centres or discovering all their nearby centres are out of doses.
On the Doctolib website, an official platform for booking Covid vaccine appointments, a quick search of vaccination centres around Saint-Malo in Brittany shows that all three of those which appear are currently fully booked.
They all show a message stating: “Due to a very high demand and a limited stock of vaccines, all appointments have already been made. Availability will appear soon. Try again in a few days or look for another centre.”