Grassroots French Covid app launched to prevent wasting vaccine doses

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The ‘Covidliste’ mobile phone application, launched by two individuals in France, connects people who wish to be vaccinated — even non-priority ones — with professionals in possession of unused doses that must be consumed quickly.

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The Covidliste app, launched earlier this week, is open to anyone who wants to be vaccinated, even if they are not yet theoretically eligible (based on age, comorbities) for the Covid-19 vaccination.

Many people have vented their frustration over the difficulty in being able to get appointments online due to technical reasons or unavailability. However, at the same time, French media has reported cases where doses have been wasted because there weren’t enough appointments filled.

The Covidliste aims to stop this by putting French people in touch with vaccination centres that have unused doses, due to the cancellation of an appointment, but which must still be completed or they will have to be thrown away.Their slogan is clear: “No dose will be lost”.

Each internet user is invited to enter his or her personal information (name, age, address, contact details). “When a dose is available, a link is sent to you. Upon confirmation, you are put in touch with a vaccination centre,” explains Covidliste.

This would avoid the need for doctors and pharmacists who have these “surplus” doses to canvass for volunteers for the vaccination themselves.

Over 100,000 registrations

On Saturday 3 April, the site’s Twitter feed showed a picture of 70 year-old Jean-Jacques, in Paris, who received a text message on his phone, validated it and received the address for the vaccination centre, which turned out to be 500 metres away from his house.

On 4 April, the site had 107,582 registrants on its platform.

Two men, computer developers, and a doctor from the Foch hospital in Suresnes near Paris are behind the creation of the application.

The home-made nature of their initiative quickly raised fears about the protection of personal data collected by the platform, with some users fearing a computer attack.

On Twitter, Covidliste reassured users by specifying that it complied with RGPD (GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation) regulations, that the data could be deleted at any time and that its communication was encrypted.

Massive vaccination centres

In his address to the nation last week, President Emmanuel Macron insisted that mass vaccinations would provide the “light at the end of the tunnel”, with the country’s aiming for 10 million first doses injected by mid-April.

Up to the 2 April, 9,109,776 people had received their first jab, according to public health authorities.

So far, France has seen a sluggish start to its vaccination campaign compared to other European countries and aims to make up for lost time with massive centres in places such as the Stade de France, north of Paris, due to open on 6 April.

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The objective over the next six months is to inject 10,000 doses per week. Half of the appointments will be made available to anyone, the other half for people living in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, one of the hardest hit in the Paris region.

One of these “vaccinodromes” has already opened in the Yvelines, west of Paris, where on Wednesday, more than 1,600 people received a jab of either the Pfizer/BioTech or Moderna vaccines.

Originally published on RFI



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