From Monday March 15, it will be possible for certain groups of people to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in certain pharmacies around France.
A pilot scheme is already underway in Brittany this week, with 20 pharmacies and five towns participating.
We explain who can be vaccinated in a pharmacy, when, how it works, and the cost.
Who can be vaccinated in a pharmacy?
- People aged over 75
- People aged 50 to 64 with existing health conditions (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, obesity, etc.).
- All adults at very high risk of developing a serious form of Covid-19 (people with cancer, chronic kidney diseases, people who have had organ transplants, people with Down syndrome, etc).
Certain patients who fall into these categories will not be able to receive a vaccination at a pharmacy and will have to see their GP instead.
These are: pregnant women (who can also go to their midwives for a vaccination), people with a haemostasis disorder, and people with a history of an anaphylactic reaction to any of the components of the vaccines, or who have had an anaphylactic reaction to the first injection.
All 50-74 year-olds can begin to get vaccinated from mid-April. They will also be able to use pharmacies.
When can I be vaccinated at a pharmacy?
A first delivery of AstraZeneca doses was made this week (March 11 and 12) to the 6,756 pharmacies that are already set up to vaccinate against the flu in the 18 departments with the highest epidemic circulation.
These are Drôme, Rhône, Eure-et-Loir, Nord, Oise, Pas-de-Calais, Somme, Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Val d'Oise, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône and Var. They will each receive a vial containing 10 doses.
A wider opening to all pharmacies is planned for the week of March 15. Pharmacies can now pre-order one or two vials. The doses will be administered on Thursday 18 or Friday 19 March.
Each pharmacy that has placed an order will receive at least one vial and the surplus will first be sent to the areas most affected by the epidemic.
It is planned that soon pharmacies offering to vaccinate against Covid-19 will be listed on the government’s sante.fr website, as they are for antigen tests.
In total, "18,800 pharmacies are authorised, trained and willing to vaccinate against Covid-19," Gilles Bonnefond, president of the Union des Syndicats de Pharmaciens d’Officine, told newspaper L'Express.
How can I book an appointment?
Patients will have to book an appointment in advance either by phoning their local pharmacies or by going there.
There is also a new website, Covid-Pharma, where it will be possible soon to book a vaccination appointment at a pharmacy. A message on its website currently reads, “Covid-Pharma is new, the availability of appointments will increase rapidly in the next few days”.
Do I need a prescription?
No, no prescription is required. You will just need to book an appointment in advance.
What do I do on the day of the appointment?
When arriving at the pharmacy for your appointment, you will fill out an administrative questionnaire and a health questionnaire. See here for an English translation of the health questionnaire.
The vaccination will be done in a dedicated room in the pharmacy.
Once vaccinated, you will have to wait 15 minutes on site and during this time the pharmacist will issue you with a certificate.
The second injection will be scheduled to take place between nine and 12 weeks later.
Which vaccine type will I receive?
For now, only the AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered in pharmacies. At a later date, depending on doses, pharmacists will also be able to vaccinate with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
How much will it cost?
There is not a cost for the vaccine, the pharmacist will invoice the bill to the Assurance Maladie (Ameli), via your carte Vitale. However, you will have to pay €7.90, the cost for the pharmacist vaccinating you.
It is not yet clear if people without a carte Vitale can be vaccinated against Covid-19 in pharmacies.