France’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout has sped up in recent weeks and now over 11 million people have received at least a first dose of a vaccine.
However, there are still Connexion readers writing in to say that, despite being eligible for a jab, they cannot get an appointment.
Everyone over 60 years old in France is eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccination, regardless of their health, with any of the vaccines on offer (those of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca).
Everyone aged 55 to 59 is eligible to receive an AstraZeneca vaccine at a pharmacy or at their GP’s practice.
Please see our calendar at the end of this article that shows who is eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination.
Below we set out the ways in which you can get an appointment, although there is no guarantee they will work for all as there is still a scarcity of doses in several parts of France.
Sante.fr is the government’s portal for finding a vaccination appointment. When you go to the website you can choose your department and it will show you all the vaccination centres in your area.
It will then give you the option to call directly one of the centres to ask for an appointment or to click through to a partner site to book an appointment online.
This method can be frustrating because it is long and can involve either waiting on a centre to answer your call or lead to messages like the one below when you try to book online saying, “there are no more slots available online for the reason given”.
Vite Ma Dose (VMD) is an online tool designed by the volunteer creator of Covidtracker.fr, which offers statistical insights into the Covid-19 pandemic.
VMD is a way of removing some of the frustration of trying to get an appointment by going through sante.fr.
You put in your department and it will find the next vaccination appointment for you, which you can book immediately online.
Most departments have appointments showing within the next two weeks and some on the same day.
The Connexion checked on April 16 to see which ones did not have any appointments showing. There were 29:
Ariège, Charente, Charente-Maritime, Côte-d’Or, Côtes-d’Armor, Creuse, Hérault, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher, Haute-Loire, Loiret, Lot-et-Garonne, Lozère, Haute-Marne, Mayenne, Morbihan, Hautes-Pyrénées, Rhône, Haute-Saône, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Deux-Sèvres, Vienne, Haute-Vienne, Territoire de Belfort, Essonne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Mayotte.
A further 12 departments only had appointments showing more than two weeks away, and in some cases up to one month away.
This situation is likely to change as more doses arrive in France. It could be worth checking VMD once a day to see if an appointment becomes available in your department. It is a simple process and only takes a few seconds.
A nearby department
If you are mobile and can travel, then you could look for vaccination appointments on VMD in nearby departments.
Under the current rules in place in France, you are allowed to travel without limit of distance for reasons relating to health, including travelling to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
You will need to fill out an exemption form (attestation de déplacement) and take it with you. You can find this form on the government website here.
Tick the second box on the form: “Santé (consultations et soins)”.
GPs and pharmacies
Certain GPs and pharmacies in France are offering the AstraZeneca vaccine. If you are over 55 and you do not have any serious health issues, you can get the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The easiest way to book an appointment is to phone your GP directly or your local pharmacy. If they are offering a vaccination but do not have any available doses, they should put your name on a waiting list.
There are over 18,500 pharmacies in France signed up to offer Covid-19 vaccinations.
A free helpline
France has also set up a free helpline with operators available from seven days a week between 06:00 and 22:00 on hand to assist in booking a vaccination appointment.
The number is: 0 800 009 110.
This method worked successfully for one Connexion reader, who we asked to try it after he had a frustrating experience trying other ways.
Reader Richard Fell, 73, said he got through to the operator on the first time of trying.
“I called the number and spoke with a nice lady who was very helpful and managed to understand my French!
“I now have an appointment for the first vaccination on April 26 and the second one on May 21. Both are very close to my home.”
This is a bit more of a long shot.
Covidliste connects users to vaccination centres across the country with the aim of saving doses that otherwise risk being lost.
Users sign up with personal data including name, age, address, contact details. Then, Covidliste explains: “When a dose is available, you are sent a link through SMS. Upon confirmation, you are put in contact with a vaccination centre.”
Sign-ups are open to anyone who has not yet received a vaccine, whether you are eligible for the national rollout yet or not.
So far, nearly 700,000 people have put their name down and of those, 1,430 have received a vaccination appointment. Covidliste is partnered with 254 vaccination centres and health professionals around France.