Last Friday, I got the first of the two Covid jabs. It came about by luck, as no one else I know has yet had their turn, and I am not in any of the top priority groups.
A routine doctor’s visit started it off. My doctor mentioned she had received doses for the residents of the old age home where she provides basic care. She was worried that she’d have to throw out some doses, as she had received more than she could use. “Sign me up,” I told her. And so she did.
I now am in the national database as having received the first vaccination, and have also received a personal code entitling me to the second dose whether from my doctor or the national vaccination plan.
Which, by the way, operates efficiently. You register on a website and wait to be given an appointment or make one on the site or by phone. David received his “convocation” for a jab in email (and ended up not getting it due to a contraindication). According to the anti-Covid app, 824,000 have been vaccinated so far. The health minister has said the entire population will be vaccinated by August.
There are a few obstacles that must be overcome before that can happen. While not the only country experiencing vaccine shortages, France is running out of supply and some vaccination centers are no longer accepting appointments. Then there’s the usual French skepticism about everything, with anti-vaccination sentiment the highest in Europe. How odd, for the country that pretty much invented vaccines (see: Louis Pasteur). We need 80 percent uptake for herd immunity, don’t forget.
One factor that does bode well for uptake is that the vaccine is free under the French health plan. Another is that 11 childhood vaccines have 90 percent adoption, because they are required by law and for entering school. Here’s hoping that habit transfers. And, by August, if people want to get on planes for vacation they might have to show a vaccination certificate.
Meanwhile, France is one of the worst affected countries in the world. Yes, the world. The anti-Covid app reports almost 23,000 new cases in the last 24 hours, no improvement over figures from one month ago. A group of British students vacationing in Savoie have tested positive, and it might be the dreaded UK variant. I’m hearing rumors of another lockdown in February, and the health minister has not ruled it out.
My light at the end of this tunnel is the next vaccine dose. It won’t mean I can go mask-free, or that I can’t catch the virus, but it is almost certainly a guarantee I won’t get sick. By the way, I didn’t experience any side effects from the jab.
Stay safe, all.