Reader question: I see there has been a lot of trouble with booking vaccine appointments and a long backlog. How can I be 100% sure that I will get an appointment to receive the second dose of the vaccine after having got the first?
France began its public rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine on January 18 and has so far vaccinated over half a million people. Health Minister Olivier Véran has said that over two million appointments have so far been made.
Everyone wishing to be vaccinated must receive two doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines - the only two to so far be authorised in France.
But France has already received fewer doses of the vaccine than initially expected.
Aurélien Rousseau, director general of the Île-de-France regional health agency (agence régionale de santé or ARS) said that France will receive 2.3 million doses of the Pfzier vaccine in January, 300,000 fewer than planned due to shipping issues.
She said the country must not let this affect the distribution of second doses.
“There should not be a situation where, as in other countries at present, at the time when the second dose is due to be given, the [necessary] doses are no longer in stock,” she said in an interview with radio network RTL on January 19.
The system of guaranteeing doses in France depends upon appointments.
For example, it is not the case that for every person who receives the first dose, a second dose is put aside for that same person to receive in a few weeks time.
From then, the centre will only be able to make new appointments provided it expects to receive enough doses to give the person booking a second vaccination.
If someone books an appointment by phone call, a second appointment will be arranged on the day of their vaccination at the centre.
Mr Véran said that every time new doses arrive, they are made available immediately, either for new appointments or for second doses. In this sense, the country is relying on receiving vaccine doses as planned in order to give people the required second doses.
Mr Véran said that the country is working with stocks about a half-week in advance in order to prevent any unforeseen issues.
The country also has a national reserve of 8,000 doses.
It is therefore possible that if France does not receive future supplies of vaccine doses people who have received the first dose will not have the second. This is thought very unlikely.
See below our table of what vaccines France has ordered, plus how many doses and when they will be available.
Read more about how many vaccine doses France will have access to here.