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Will over 65s still get priority for Covid booster shots in France?

Many people in this age group have until December 15 to get a booster shot so that their vaccination certificates can continue to work with the health pass

From January 15, a booster Covid jab will be required for everyone aged 18 - 64 who received their second vaccine dose over seven months ago and who wish to continue using their vaccination certificate as part of the health pass scheme Pic:

Reader question: I am over 65 but I had my second Covid jab a little late due to travel complications. I will be eligible for my third dose in the next week or so, but I’m worried there won’t be any appointments left with the younger people now taking them. Should I be concerned?

From December 15, a booster Covid jab will be required for all over 65s who received their second vaccine dose over seven months ago and who wish to continue using their vaccination certificate as part of the health pass scheme. 

Booster shots have been open to people in this age bracket since the beginning of September. 

However, France opened up booster shots to everyone aged 18 and over on November 27, which has led to a surge in people booking vaccination appointments. 

Read more: Record 1.2m appointments made for boosters as rules change in France 

This has caused some people, like our reader, to worry that the over 65s who have not yet had their booster dose will struggle to get appointments before December 15. 

But a spokesperson for Doctolib, an online platform where people can book vaccination appointments, told La Dépêche that there are still appointments available for the over 65s before December 15. 

“The over 65s are [also] eligible for the Moderna vaccine - which the under 30s are not - which leaves them more choice of slots,” the spokesperson said. 

The Moderna vaccine is only being given to people aged 30 and over due to slightly increased risks of heart issues after the jab in people below this age. 

Read more: French health authority advises against Moderna jab for under-30s

The team behind Vite Ma Dose - an online tool that helps people quickly find the nearest Covid vaccination appointment - has also stated that there are 1.2million appointments still available in its database. 

But those appointments may be snapped up quickly as younger people book more slots. 

From January 15, a booster Covid jab will be required for everyone aged 18 - 64 who received their second vaccine dose over seven months ago and who wish to continue using their vaccination certificate as part of the health pass scheme. 

So far, 10.8% of France’s entire population have received a booster Covid vaccine dose. 

The number of people getting a booster shot has also increased rapidly since mid-November. The latest data from November 29 shows that 323,361 people got a booster shot on that day, bringing the total number of people to have received an extra dose in France to 7,289,915.

The table below shows the number of people getting booster shots in France each day until November 28. 

Pic: Covidtracker.fr

The fact that an increasing number of young people are booking vaccination appointments has led to some towns and doctors to take action to ensure there are still spaces available for the over 65s.

For example, emergency services in Haute-Garonne have opened a vaccination centre in a sports hall in Colomiers (outside Toulouse) reserved only for people aged 65 and over. It has the capacity to accommodate around 500 people a day. 

Dr Frédéric Venouil, a GP in Colomiers, told La Dépêche he was confident of vaccinating all the over 65s who wanted a booster dose. 

“I always give priority to the over-65s and the most vulnerable,” he said. 

“Between the mobilisation of all the doctors, pharmacists, nurses and vaccination centres, I am confident that we will manage to vaccinate all the over-65s by January.”

However, in most places there is no specific priority system for the over 65s and most vulnerable. 

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Related stories:

How to book your Covid-19 vaccination appointment in France

Coronavirus: Daily updates on the situation in France

How will UK over-65s prove Covid booster for French health pass?

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