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All Covid vaccines now open to over-60s in France: Your FAQs

You cannot choose which vaccination you receive but you can choose where you book an appointment, which determines the vaccine used

16 April 2021
All Covid vaccines now open to over-60s in France: Your FAQsPreviously, the over 60s without health problems could only be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in pharmacies or by their GP
By Hannah Thompson

Covid vaccinations using all the types of vaccine in use in France are now open to everyone aged 60-69.

Until now only the AstraZeneca vaccine was available to people in this age group unless they had other factors such as medical conditions making them more vulnerable.

Earlier this week the AstraZeneca vaccine was opened to all over-55s.

Who is now eligible?

All over-60s for all types of vaccines, regardless of whether they had any at-risk or underlying conditions.

Which vaccines are available for over-60s? 

All three available in France so far - Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca. The Janssen jab can also be used - this vaccine is expected to begin in France next week.

Why have over-60s become eligible after AstraZeneca vaccines for over-55s opened on Monday?

Previously, the over-60s without health problems could only be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in pharmacies or by their GP.

The over-60s are simply the next category of the public eligible to book on the government’s wider campaign rollout calendar.

(The AstraZeneca vaccine is only permitted in France for the over-55s anyway, due to an extremely small risk of blood clotting issues among younger people.)

Read more: Updated France Covid vaccine schedule: When will I get my first dose?

Can I choose which vaccine I receive?

No, in the sense that you cannot pick a brand once you have booked your appointment. But, you can choose where you book in the first place and this plays a significant part.

  • Pfizer and Moderna: Generally being used at vaccinodromes - so-called “mega” vaccination centres in places such as sports stadiums. They require special extra cold-storage.
  • AstraZeneca: Generally offered at GPs and pharmacies as it can be stored in a normal fridge.

What about the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine?

Vaccination with the Janssen jab is due to begin for over-55s next Thursday (April 22). 

The US has suspended its use - prompting Johnson & Johnson to pause deliveries to Europe - pending investigations into reports of rare blood clot issues, but it is still set to continue in France so far.

Read more: How will suspension of Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine impact France?
Read more: Covid France Updates: Janssen vaccine for over 55s, homage for victims

Will a third Pfizer dose be needed?

People who have received the Pfizer vaccine will likely require a third injection in 6-12 months, the head of the US pharmaceutical giant has said.

Dr Albert Bourla, chief executive of Pfizer, told CNBC: “A likely scenario is that there will be a need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed.”

He added that variants "will play a key role" in whether people need regular booster jabs - similar to the way in which flu vaccinations are given every year.

He said that the Pfizer vaccine has been proven to offer protection against severe forms of Covid for at least six months, but that “protection goes down over time”. 

He said: “It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus.”

On Sunday April 11, French health authority la Direction générale de la Santé française made it mandatory for immuno-compromised people to receive a third dose of mRNA vaccines (such as Pfizer and Moderna) “at least four weeks after the second dose”.

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