Reader question: Both my husband and I are in our 80s. How can we book an appointment for the Covid vaccine?
From January 18, Covid-19 vaccinations will be open to the general public, starting with those aged over 75 and those with serious health issues. This covers approximately 6.4 million people.
If you fall into this category, it is now possible to book an appointment to receive the vaccination.
You can do this online through various websites but Health Minister Olivier Véran has said that the simplest way is to contact your closest vaccination centre directly.
"You can find the address, the telephone number, the contact details at your mairie, your doctor, your pharmacist, among your friends or even in the local press," he said.
Equally, you can go to sante.fr, which will give you a list of all the vaccination centres in each department and a way to contact them - either a telephone number or a link to an online booking platform.
There is also a free national telephone number that you can call: 0800 009 110. This line will be open every day between 06:00 and 22:00. Operators will direct callers to their nearest vaccination centre and explain how to book an appointment.
There are three private websites where patients can book a Covid-19 vaccination appointment.
When you book an appointment on one of these sites you will be directed to your nearest Covid-19 vaccination centre.
700 vaccination centres will be open around the country from Monday, January 18
People booking on these sites will receive a confirmation and a reminder by SMS and email.
One potential issue is elderly people ill-accustomed to using the internet.
A 2019 study carried out by France’s national statistics bureau Insee found that over half of the people over 75 in the country do not have access to the internet at their home.
Stanislas Niox-Chateau, the founder of Doctolib, said that to counter this friends or family members of elderly people can book appointments on their behalf. He said it would also be possible to book an appointment by phone call.
Letters in the post
Dr Alain Fischer, who is leading France’s Covid vaccination campaign, has said that starting from January 22, people eligible for the vaccine should receive a letter with information about booking an appointment at their nearest vaccine centre.
Booking via the Covid application
The government had stated it would be possible to book a vaccination appointment via the Covid tracing application TousAntiCovid, but that idea has now been dropped.
It was deemed that it would be too complicated and take too long to get this process up and running, especially given the urgency of vaccinating people.
Documents to take to vaccination appointment
On the day of the vaccination you will need to take a valid ID, your Carte Vitale or a Cpam attestation verifying your right to French healthcare.