Richard Fell, 73, a British Connexion reader living in France, spent weeks trying to book an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccination but had no luck until he phoned a free national hotline.
The vaccination campaign was opened to people aged 70 to 74 in France on March 27. All over 75s have been eligible since January 18.
There are various ways to book an appointment, including through the website Doctolib.fr, by directly phoning a vaccination centre near you - a list can be found on the website sante.fr - or by going through your GP or your local pharmacy.
You can also phone a free national helpline, where operators can help to book an appointment for you. The phone number is: 0800 009 110. It is open every day between 06:00 and 22:00.
This is the method with which Mr Fell had success after a frustrating experience with the other options.
He wrote to The Connexion on April 6 to complain that he had been trying to book an appointment since he became eligible but without luck.
“I am registered on three lists! Two at local pharmacies and one with my doctor and have been waiting for a call from any one of them,” he wrote.
“I called two vaccination centres in my area, both less than 10km from my village. The woman I spoke with was extremely vague and said I would be better off going to either of another two centres over 100km away.”
He said he had considered trying to return to the UK to get a vaccination.
After Mr Fell’s email, The Connexion suggested he phone the helpline instead and it worked.
“I called the number you gave me and spoke with a very 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.”
He said he got through to an operator on the first try and that the woman phoned the vaccination centre on his behalf to organise the appointments.
“She asked me whether I was taking any medication and if so to take the prescription along to the appointment as well as my carte Vitale. The whole process took about 10 minutes. I’m so pleased this is all over.”
Everyone in France with a carte Vitale should take it to their Covid-19 vaccination appointment. However, it is not necessary to have one to be vaccinated. We explain the process in this article.