Jeremy Clarke Jeremy Clarke

My €25 Covid jab surprise

How did a foreigner like me, with no health card, get a vaccination so early?

Credit: Ridofranz

Around the time that poor M. Macron was casting televised aspersions on the AstraZeneca jab, I was offered one by Mme Michaud, our hardworking French village GP. Concerned about her bosoms, Catriona had visited for a routine appointment and while there had asked what the chances were of getting a Covid jab. By a stroke of good luck, Mme Michaud said she had a batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine arriving in a fortnight and would her friend like one as well? Consequently my name was pencilled on her list, but with a question mark against it.

My busy oncologist at Marseille replied to my email within two minutes. He said that in spite of what the President of the Republic was saying about the AstraZeneca jab, he believed it to be as effective as the other brands for people of my age and condition and that I should go ahead. Catriona phoned Mme Michaud and the question mark against my name was removed. We were all set.

The appointment was at three o’clock on a Friday afternoon in Mme Michaud’s new surgery. We half expected a phone call at some stage cancelling it, but the day and the hour crept inexorably around without a hitch and at ten to the hour we found the right door and mounted the stairs. A receptionist indicated a double row of circular bamboo seats, about half of them occupied by villagers who were noticeably much older and iller than we were, and we chose seats opposite a gasping, mulberry-faced man with two sticks who didn’t look like he’d make it to half past.

Compared with this decrepit lot, I felt fraudulent and juvenile. And amazed, too, that as a foreigner in France without a health card, with so few French people inoculated against Covid to date, I should be getting a jab so soon.

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