Vaccination: why are appointments reduced for the first dose?



France has never vaccinated so much against Covid-19. As of June 4, the average daily injection was over 570,000 injections, up 130,000 units in one month. More than 29.4 million people have now received at least one dose, or 44% of the total population and 56.1% of adults. Nearly 15 million French people even benefit from a “Complete vaccination schedule”.

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However, not all indicators are on the rise. The Doctolib site, loaded with other platforms for the management of vaccine niches, reports a significant drop, since the beginning of June, in the number of appointments made to receive a first dose. On average, it stood at 208,000 on June 9 over the past week, compared to 296,000 on May 31. A level equivalent to that of early May.

Time slots already reserved for the second dose

Fewer and fewer French people would therefore make an appointment for a first dose. To explain such a trend, Doctolib indicates that “Many slots – 2.2 times more in June than in May – are planned for second injections, therefore already reserved, following the peak of the first injections in May”. The site’s estimates also provide for a switch on June 14, the date from which the second daily doses would be greater than the first.

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Another reason mentioned by Doctolib: the lack of “Visibility” of certain vaccination centers on deliveries of doses from July, and the consequent reduction in open appointments in the medium term. Hence the decrease in the average waiting time between the choice of the niche and the completion of the injection, which dropped between June 2 and 9 from 8.4 to 6.3 days.

The “brake” of the summer period

The Ile-de-France Regional Health Agency (ARS) confirms a “Slowdown in making appointments”, and the increase in slots available within 24 hours in the region from 2,400 to 13,000 over the past week. “The approach of the summer period, with the reminders [deuxième dose] which fall after July 15, can constitute a brake “, observes the public establishment.

If the executive allows a two-week delay between the two doses (between 5 and 7 weeks, against 6 initially planned) to facilitate leave, it has given up allowing the administration of the reminder at the place of vacation. What dissuade some from receiving the first dose.

“This decrease [des prises de rendez-vous] is also partly due to the increase in coverage rates, and the crossing of the threshold of 50% of the adult population vaccinated ”, adds the ARS of Île-de-France. Should we thus perceive in the slowing down of the first doses the reaching of a “glass ceiling” and the difficulty henceforth in motivating the less confident?

“Mechanical and normal phenomenon”

“We break records every day”, sweeps the ministry of health, which sees in the increase of the available niches a “Mechanical and normal phenomenon” : “Suddenly there are many more vaccines due to the supply of doses, de facto creating a differential between supply and demand. The slots available are certainly more numerous and not necessarily reserved immediately, but that does not mean that they remain vacant. “

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It remains to convince the youngest to go for the vaccine. While more than 82% of those aged 65 and over received at least one dose, 60% of those aged 30-49 and 70% of those aged 18-29 received none.

At the Ministry of Health, there is no doubt that the generational gap in the face of the vaccine will be quickly bridged: ” While the French were among the most skeptical Europeans at the start of the campaign, the trust rate is now over 80%. People are seeing that the vaccines are working and that the epidemic is on the decline, which is what will have a ripple effect in the months to come. “

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