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Covid France: Can I pick vaccine type by choosing where I get it?

The three vaccines currently being used in France are being given in different places, such as dedicated centres, GP practices and pharmacies

There are currently three Covid-19 vaccine types in use in France, with a fourth set to be rolled out later in April Pic: Nataliya Vaitkevich / Pexels

Reader question: Is it possible to choose which Covid-19 vaccination I get by selecting where I receive the jab?

It is possible for certain people to choose the vaccine type they receive because of the way that France has organised the rollout.

Three vaccine types are currently being offered in France; Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. A fourth, by Johnson & Johnson, is due to be rolled out in Europe from April 19. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are being offered at vaccination centres, including the massive new centres dubbed “vaccinodromes”. 

Covid France: How the new mass vaccination centres will work

The AstraZeneca vaccine is being offered at pharmacies, GP practices or at workplaces. 

This means that if you are eligible, you can choose to book a vaccination appointment at a centre and receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna types. If you choose to be vaccinated by your GP or pharmacist, you will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

It is not yet known how the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be deployed in France. It can be stored in similar conditions to the AstraZeneca vaccine, meaning it is possible it will be rolled out in pharmacies and at GP practices too. 

How to get a Covid-19 vaccination in a pharmacy in France

There are also no details yet on if the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines will eventually be rolled out at pharmacies or at GP practices. This is more complicated logistically as they both have to be stored at much lower temperatures than the AstraZeneca vaccine and require special freezers. 

Where you can be vaccinated depends on your health and age.

  • People aged between 55 to 69 with existing health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, obesity, etc (see a list here in French) can be vaccinated with any of the three vaccine types currently being used in France. They can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at their GP practice or at a pharmacy without the need for a medical prescription or the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines at a vaccination centre (if they have a medical prescription).
  • People aged between 50 to 54 with existing health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, obesity, etc (see a list here in French) can be vaccinated with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines only at a vaccination centre with a medical prescription. The AstraZeneca vaccine is not currently recommended in France for people under the age of 55.
  • People of all ages with health issues that expose them to a very high risk of developing a serious form of Covid-19 can be vaccinated at centres with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines only. This includes people with cancer, chronic kidney disease, people who have had organ transplants, people with Down syndrome, etc. See a full list (in French) here.

Read more:

Explained: France's updated Covid vaccine calendar

When will life return to normal in France after Covid-19?

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