A new freephone number for home Covid vaccination appointments has been launched by the French government for over-80s who are yet to receive their jab.
Over-80s, their family or their carers can call the number – 0800 730 957 – between 06:00 and 22:00 every day to book an appointment at their home, at a vaccination centre or at their doctor’s surgery.
The proportion of over-80s who have taken up their vaccine is currently lower than that of other age groups.
While 93% of people aged 60-80, 90% of 50 to 60-year-olds and 87% of 40 to 50-year-olds are fully vaccinated, only 85% of those over 80 have received both vaccine doses, according to the government website.
The Health Ministry states in its vaccination campaign leaflets that one in 10 elderly people will die after contracting Covid.
For these people, getting vaccinated is therefore crucial, microbiologist Patrick Berche told BFMTV.
“This is a population which is not hostile to vaccination but which, probably, does not have access to it,” he added.
“There is no doubt that these people need [to get vaccinated]: if they come into contact with the virus, they will probably get very ill.”
Elderly people who are not very mobile can, under certain conditions, have their travel costs covered if they go to their appointment by ambulance or taxi. Further details can be found on the Assurance Maladie website.
The vaccination appointment hotline could also help to speed up the Covid booster dose campaign, especially as regional authorities deploy mobile teams to work across different departments.
“We must spur on the booster campaign among the elderly and the vulnerable,” said Health Minister Olivier Véran on October 22. “It’s progressing, but not fast enough.”
More than 2 million people have already received their booster dose, with Mr Véran adding that: “We are in a good rhythm now, we are getting close to 100,000 third injections per day, which is more than we recorded during the first few weeks." However, although "[Our campaign] is ahead of that of the majority of our neighbours, but that is not enough.”