France Covid: Vaccine was painless and very well organised

One reader describes her husband’s experience of getting vaccinated against Covid-19

19 January 2021
Warwick Gordon on the beach in Oye-Plage in the north of France in summer 2020. He received the first dose of a vaccination against Covid-19 on Monday, January 18
By Thomas Brent

A British woman living in France has said that her husband is glad to have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and that the process was simple and well organised.

Warwick Gordon, 75, originally from the UK, received the jab yesterday (January 18), on the first day it was open to the general public. 

The retired pensioner went to his local clinic in St Omer (Hauts-de-France) to receive the vaccine. He described it as “painless”, similar to having a flu jab,” his wife Helen Gordon told The Connexion.

Mr Gordon asked Mrs Gordon to speak about the experience on his behalf.

France began its public rollout of the vaccine yesterday, with those over 75 and those with serious health issues eligible. Mrs Gordon is not yet eligible to receive the vaccine but was able to book an appointment for her husband.

She said her local mairie posted information on Facebook about how to get the vaccine and she emailed the contact details publicised last Tuesday (January 12). 

She said they phoned her back the same day and she arranged an appointment for the following Monday. 

“It was as easy as that,” she said. 

Yesterday, the couple went to their local vaccination centre, the Clinique de Saint-Omer.

“It was extremely well organised with signs to show you where to go.

“I went in with my husband. Most people went alone but because my husband doesn’t speak very good French he wanted someone there to interpret and they said that was fine.

“We sat on chairs one-metre apart. There were about eight people queueing at any one time. You moved up the chairs gradually. There were two rooms being used for vaccinations and each room had five booths. So you sat in one of the booths so you were completely isolated from each other.

She said that before the vaccination, her husband was asked to fill out a questionnaire and sign a consent form.

“They asked us a few questions about my husband’s health and then popped the injection in his arm. 

“There was a timer on the wall and we had to wait for 15 minutes just to make sure there were no side-effects and then we left. 

“We got a certificate to take away to say he had had the injection and would be recontacted in three weeks to arrange his second dose. 

“It all felt extremely safe and comfortable,” she said. 

She said the only documentation they had to show was her husband’s Carte Vitale. 

She said her husband has felt fine since the vaccination.

Mr and Mrs Gordon, both from the UK, bought a second house in France 12 years ago. They recently decided to move in permanently and applied for residency.

The latest figures show that 479,873 people have so far been vaccinated in France. The government is aiming to vaccinate over one million people by the end of January and between 2.4 and 4 million by the end of February. 

Read more:

Covid-19 France: Where can I book a vaccine appointment?

Covid France: Vaccination wait times reach up to 2 months

Which high-risk people can now be vaccinated in France?

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