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Getting vaccinated: why, when, how and where?

Understanding the benefits of vaccination: a simple act, which is essential for everybody’s health

Getting vaccinated according to a vaccination schedule is the most effective way of preventing certain serious infectious diseases that are difficult to treat and/or carry a risk of complications or after-effects.

Vaccination is a way to protect both yourself and others, particularly those most vulnerable around you: newborns, pregnant women, people suffering from a condition that contraindicates vaccination, the elderly, etc.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 3.5 and 5 million lives are saved every year thanks to vaccination. From this point of view, this simple act of prevention represents one of the public health service’s greatest successes.

Source (in French) :

The vaccination schedule: everybody’s business

The vaccination schedule indicates timelines for:
  • Mandatory vaccinations for people living in France, according to age,
  • General and specific recommendations for people at high risk because of their state of health or increased exposure,
  • The frequency of injections.
It is approved and regularly updated by the French Health Authority.

Vaccination is not just for children, and it is important to have booster shots as adults. The protection afforded by certain vaccines doesn’t last a lifetime. Some vaccinations are also recommended for adults in certain circumstances, such as in the case of a planned pregnancy, a chronic illness or a vulnerable family member.

Download the simplified vaccination schedule for 2023 (in French)

Source (in French):

Recommendations for travelers

When traveling abroad, it is important to seek information and prepare yourself two or three months in advance by making an appointment with your GP or at a vaccination center specialized in vaccinations for travelers, to review the vaccinations recommended/required according to your destination and the conditions of your stay.

In some countries, vaccinations are required to enter the country. But in all cases and whatever the destination, we strongly recommend:

  • Being up to date with vaccinations recommended in France,
  • Making sure you are protected against infectious diseases that circulate widely at your destination.
To find out more and prepare for your trip abroad, see:

Vaccination recommendations from the Pasteur Institute, country by country (in French)

Health and safety advice from the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs for each destination (in French)

Source: (in French)

In practical terms, how do I get vaccinated? From the prescription to the vaccination

Who can prescribe a vaccine?

  • A doctor
  • A midwife

As part of the Covid-19 pandemic, the prescription of Covid-19 vaccines has been extended to pharmacists, nurses and dental surgeons, subject to training equivalent to that of pharmacists for seasonal influenza.

Who can deliver a vaccine?

  • A retail pharmacist
  • Approved vaccination centers and maternal and child protection centers (PMI) may supply the vaccines they administer

Who can administer a vaccine?

  • A doctor (general practitioner, specialist, occupational doctor, medical health care center doctor)
  • A nurse (with a medical prescription released by a doctor)
  • midwife (for women, newborns and their entourage, up until two months following the birth)
  • A pharmacist who agrees to do so (only against seasonal flu)

In the context of the Covid-19 epidemic, the administration of vaccines was authorized for a large number of health care professionals and medical students.

The cost of vaccines

The French National Health Service covers the cost of certain vaccines and their administration. You can check this on Ameli (in French) and Vaccination Info Service (in French).

Where can I get vaccinated?

In an approved international vaccination center

But also...

  • By a doctor in a private medical practice,
  • By a registered nurse, with a doctor’s prescription,
  • By a midwife for women as part of their gynecological care and contraception, pregnant women, new mothers, babies and their friends and family (for certain vaccinations),
  • In a pharmacy (flu or COVID-19 vaccination),
  • In the occupational health service (for certain vaccinations),
  • In a PMI (mother and child health center) (Maison de la Métropole) (for children up to 6 years of age),
  • In certain circumstances, vaccinations can be administered as part of a school health service.