France is set to ramp up its Covid-19 vaccination rollout and is increasing the number of places where people can receive a jab.
From March 15, pharmacists will be able to administer the vaccines, meaning an injection is now possible at designated centres, GP practices, workplaces and in special cases at a patient’s home.
We explain who can receive a vaccination and where.
People aged 75 and over: In a vaccination centre
Since January 18, the vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have been available to everyone aged 75 and over.
Information on booking a vaccine appointment at a centre near you can be found on sante.fr. There, you can find phone numbers and information for booking an appointment at your nearest centre.
It is still currently very difficult to find an available appointment slot due to a limited number of doses.
Only 28% of people in this age group have so far received a first dose of a vaccination, Prime Minister Jean Castex said during a press conference on Thursday (March 4).
The rollout is set to speed up this month.
“Between January and February, we received seven million doses of all vaccines. In March, we should receive 22 million doses, three times as many,” Mr Castex said.
"We can't vaccinate everyone right away. You will still have to be patient but don't have any doubt - you will be vaccinated,” he said.
He stated that 850,000 new Covid vaccination appointments will be made available between now and the end of March.
Paris and Nice are set to receive extra doses this weekend.
In Paris, 20 vaccination centres will be open on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 March to vaccinate Parisians over 75 years of age or with additional health issues who are already on waiting lists. They will be able to organise an appointment on Doctolib.fr.
For anyone unable to use the internet, they can call 3975 (local call charges apply). This number will be open from 8:30 to 18:00 Monday to Friday.
People aged 50 to 74 with ‘at risk’ health issues: At GP practices or pharmacies
People of this age group are eligible to be vaccinated if they have an existing health problem which is considered to make them at risk of developing a serious form of Covid-19.
“I’m talking mainly about obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory failure, heart disease or if you have had cancer within the past three years,” Mr Castex stated.
Doctors have been asked to identify the relevant patients.
These people can be vaccinated by their GP and will either be directly contacted by their doctor or can call their doctor’s practice to arrange an appointment.
Note that not all GPs in France are currently vaccinating patients.
From March 15, this group of people will also be able to get vaccinated at a local pharmacy.
Pharmacists are permitted to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine without having a doctor present. However, for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, there needs to be a doctor on hand.
The full details of the organisation of this process will be given next week. Mr Castex said it will not be necessary to have a prescription and the steps will be similar to receiving a flu jab. It will be completely free. Patients will have to book an appointment in advance either by phoning their local pharmacies or by going there.
People in this category can also be vaccinated at their place of work or at a vaccination centre if they have a prescription from their doctor.
Certain patients who fall into this category will not be able to receive a vaccination at a pharmacy and will have to see their GP instead. These are: pregnant women, people with a hemostasis 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.
People aged 50 to 74 without ‘at risk’ health issues: From mid-April
All 50-74 year olds can begin to get vaccinated from mid-April. They will be able to use pharmacies.