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17,000 Covid vaccination slots a minute booked after Macron’s speech

French booking site stalls after president announces plans to extend the health pass to restaurants, bars, trains, cinemas and other locations as well as obligatory vaccination for healthcare workers

Covid vaccine appointment booking website Doctolib experienced delays as people seemingly rushed to book a vaccination slot after President Macron's latest announcement Pic: Screenshot / Doctolib

France’s online Covid vaccination booking portal Doctolib stalled tonight as up to 17,000 people a minute rushed to book slots after President Emmanuel Macron announced mandatory vaccines for many health workers and a wide extension of the so-called ‘health pass’. 

Read more: Health pass extended, more vaccinations: Macron’s anti-Covid measures

The Doctolib site had a waiting time to access it of six minutes at around 20:40 this evening (July 12), shortly after President Macron finished his speech, which began at 20:00.

This had increased to nine minutes by 20:48.

Doctolib said that 17,000 appointments for vaccines were being booked on its site every minute, shortly after the President’s announcements, reported Franceinfo. 

President Macron tonight announced a range of new measures in a bid to slow the spread of the Covid Delta variant, with an emphasis on vaccinations.

This included making Covid vaccination mandatory for people working in hospitals, clinics, retirement homes and in other capacities with elderly and vulnerable people. Checks and fines on this will follow in September.

The president also stated that a health pass (pass sanitaire) would be required to attend events of over 50 people from July 21. Currently, this is required for events of over 1,000 people.

Mr Macron said this could be extended further from early August, subject to a parliamentary vote, to include allowing people to access cafés, restaurants, cinemas, planes, trains and coaches. 

France’s health pass is not a document in itself and refers instead to:

  • A Covid-19 test (rapid antigen or PCR) showing a negative result and taken within the past 48 hours
  • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate
  • A Covid-19 test (rapid antigen or PCR) showing a positive Covid-19 result, from between two weeks and six months from date of test

These documents can be shown in paper format, digitally or through the phone application TousAntiCovid. 

Mr Macron also said Covid-19 tests that are not strictly for medical reasons and unless accompanied by a prescription will no longer be free from this autumn. This is aimed to stop people using tests to comply with travel rules or for ‘comfort’ and instead to get vaccinated.

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