Excluding nursing home residents who can get vaccinated against Covid between late December 2020 and early February 2021, during the first phase of the nationwide vaccine campaign, how to know when I can get a vaccine? This is a question many French are wondering about and to which our peers from l'Express tried to answer during an interview with Assurance-maladie National Medical Officer Dominique Martin.
How prioritized people that should be vaccinated from early February 2021 will know they are eligible to vaccine at this point in phase 2? The doctor is crystal clear: “We will spot in the Assurance-Maladie database the most fragile people over their age or identified risk factors and we’ll send them a vaccine voucher” he explains. He goes on: “This voucher will invite them to systematic consultation prior to the injecting with their GPs. It will include a number that will enable the GP to identify that the patient is part of people that can be vaccinated during this or that phase”.
Then it is the social security system that is entrusted in saying who is given priority or not during the different phases of the vaccine campaign. An organization that – as detailed by Dominique Martin – can “cover most” of “comorbidities”. “We know patients suffering from long-term illnesses, enjoying full reimbursement of health expenses led by their pathologies” he says explaining that “of course, we cannot be fully exhaustive”.
And for good reason: many details taken into account to give priority to vaccine are not required by the Assurance-maladie, such as the body mass index, making it harder to identify some obese patients that are yet at risk and should be prioritized. Same thing for patients’ positions that are not featured in the social security system database, excluding medical workers.
As to know if the voucher provided will be compulsory to access vaccine, the answer is clear as well: “No, not getting one will not prevent you from getting a vaccine. Doctors will then have to assess if – for reasons clearly set – someone is eligible to vaccination” the Assurance-Maladie National Medical Officer adds. He also says that doctors will have a key part in identifying who is prioritized, as they know some details the Assurance-Maladie does not.
For the record, as explained by l'Express, all along the vaccine campaign, the Assurance-Maladie will be entrusted with “building up database to follow the campaign up”, as for Santé publique France, the organization will manage “the logistics and delivery of doses, the arrival of vaccines in the country and all the way to vaccination centers”, the French Agency for the Safety of Health Products (ANSM) will monitor adverse effects and their evolutions. Last but not least, the Health Minister’s statistics unit will be entrusted with “assessing data and managing the campaign”.