How do I sign up for France's Covid-19 vaccination?
France is set to roll-out a free vaccine against coronavirus in the coming weeks
Reader question: Very informative and helpful vaccine coverage, as usual. However, you haven't explained the procedure. Do we contact our doctor to put our names on a list (we are both over 75)? Or will there be a letter sent to us, or what?
The Covid vaccine will be rolled out in three stages. The first step will involve vaccinating elderly people living in retirement homes and the staff there.
The second phase will concern our reader. From March, around 14 million people who are considered “at risk” will be able to receive the vaccine. This will run in descending age order starting with those aged over 75, then over 65s, then over 50s. It will also include health professionals.
From Spring, the rest of the population will be able to receive the vaccine.
Getting the vaccine
The vaccine will be free for everyone.
Anyone receiving the vaccine as part of phase one will receive it at their retirement or care home.
For the following phases, it is not yet clear if citizens will receive a letter, be contacted by their doctor or have to voluntarily contact their doctor to be put on a list.
More information about this will be announced in the coming weeks. We recommend that you contact your GP to ask if you are uncertain, and The Connexion will continue to cover vaccine-related developments as they are announced.
Some parts of the government’s strategy are already known.
“Everyone should be able to get vaccinated by a health professional close to home, whom they know and trust,” Health Minister Olivier Véran has said.
So the vaccinations will most probably be carried out by your GP, either at his surgery or in a centre set up for vaccinations.
With the seasonal flu jab, people considered priority receive a voucher in the post that they can then take to their GP or local pharmacy to get the vaccination. It is not thought that this will be possible for the Covid-19 vaccine due to the complexities of storing it.
It is thought that priority groups will receive information closer to March about how to be vaccinated.
Consent forms and medical follow-ups
President Emmanuel Macron has made it absolutely clear that the Covid-19 vaccine will not be obligatory.
The government has also outlined some of the procedures for people opting to be vaccinated.
There will be three steps: consultation, vaccination, follow-up.
During the medical consultation offered before the vaccination, the doctor or health professional will give the patient a health check-up to make sure there are no foreseeable issues. This consultation can be done remotely through video call, if necessary.
The doctor or health professional giving the vaccine will also then inform the patient of the benefits and risks of the vaccine before getting their written consent.
There will be a health follow-up after the vaccination that will be managed by the Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament and Assurance Maladie. This will allow patients to report any undesirable side-effects, no matter how minor.
What will getting the vaccine comprise
This will depend on which vaccine patients receive.
The European Commission, which is managing the purchasing of Covid-19 vaccines on behalf of member states, has so far reserved six different vaccines.
The vaccine that is most likely to be deployed first in France is the one made by Pfizer-BioNTech.
For this vaccine, patients will have to receive two doses, around three weeks apart.
Does France have enough doses of the vaccine?
France has more than enough, Prime Minister Jean Castex has said.
There will be 200 million doses available, enough to vaccinate 100 million people.
France’s population is just under 67 million.
“This is the margin of safety we are taking,” Mr Castex said.
“Having sufficient quantities is the primary objective.”