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COVID-19 VACCINES

French pharmacies to stay open on Sundays for Covid-19 vaccinations

France's Health Minister Olivier Véran has announced pharmacies will be able to stay open on Sundays for the rest of December and January to speed up the country's vaccination programme.

Pharmacies are among the many sites where you can get vaccinated in France. The Health Minister has said that they will be able to stay open on Sundays to accelerate the country's vaccination efforts.
Pharmacies are among the many sites where you can get vaccinated in France. The Health Minister has said that they will be able to stay open on Sundays to accelerate the country's vaccination efforts. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)

Pharmacies will be able to open on Sundays in December and January to speed up vaccinations in France. Up until now, regional health authorities prevent many of the country’s pharmacies from staying open on Sundays. 

Speaking on France 2, the French Health Minister Olivier Véran described pharmacists as “essential pillars” of the country’s booster dose campaign. 

On Tuesday, the government announced that pharmacists who worked on Sundays and bank holidays would receive extra payment for each dose administered. Nurses delivering vaccinations through home visits on these days will also receive bonuses. 

On Wednesday, more than 650,000 people received booster doses in France. But Véran warned that the vaccination process had to “go more quickly”. 

The Health Minister noted that there had been 72,000 Covid contaminations in a 24-hour period – a new record. “We have not seen that since the beginning of the pandemic,” he said in an interview . 

The government is taking a number of measures to expand vaccination coverage. Over 65s who want to receive a booster dose and unvaccinated people no longer have to book an appointment to get vaccinated. New vaccination centres are opening across the country. Children over the age of 5 are set to become eligible for vaccination. And booster doses will soon be required for people who want to continue using the health pass to access various public venues. 

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Véran reiterated the government’s plea for people to respect barrier measures and to limit social gatherings to help reach the pass the peak of the fifth wave “between now and the end of the month.”

“We are seeing a slowing down in epidemiological growth: cases numbers were rising by 60 percent in a week, then by 40 percent and now by around 25-30 percent,” he said. 

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COVID-19 ALERT

France extends second Covid vaccine boosters to over 60s

The French government has announced an extension of the second booster programme for the Covid vaccine to over 60s, as well as those with a medical condition.

France extends second Covid vaccine boosters to over 60s

Previously offered only to over 80s and those with a medical condition, the programme will now be extended to those aged 60 and over, health minister Olivier Véran announced on Thursday, reaching an extra 500,000 people.

He told RTL: “We are opening the second booster to people aged 60 and over, six months after their first booster.”

The change comes into effect immediately, although the second booster shot can only be given once six months has passed since the first booster.

As ever, there is no need to wait for an invitation, if you fit the criteria you can book your appointment directly with a pharmacy, GP or vaccine centre.

A second booster is entirely voluntary, and will not be required to keep ‘fully vaccinated’ status for those in the eligible groups.

Those who qualify for the second booster shot are now

  • Anyone aged 60 and over
  • Anyone under the age of 60 who has a chronic or severe illness including cancer patients, those with a compromised immune system and people living with chronic conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure or a respiratory condition. Find the full list here.

EXPLAINED Who qualifies for a second Covid vaccine booster shot?

The Haute Autorité de Santé, France’s medical regulator, considers that extending second boosters to the entire population is not “relevant” at this stage.

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