Tuesday, July 5

Go to France to get vaccinated earlier: “So we have a calmer summer”

“Although soon they were going to vaccinate us in Spain, the sooner the better. So we have a calmer summer and we can be with the family without worries.” Paola Lorenzo is a young woman from Donostia of “19 years to 20”, and despite the fact that this Tuesday in Euskadi it was announced that this week the reservation of appointments will be opened so that the population between 30 and 39 can be administered some of vaccines against COVID-19, she has received her first puncture. It was not in Illunbe, in the Donostia bullring converted into a vaccination track, but in the French town of Capbreton, 74 kilometers away, and after an hour’s drive.

France once again allows Spaniards who do not have residency to be vaccinated after having banned it for a few hours

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Lorenzo and his friend Leire Barros are two of the hundreds of young people from Gipuzkoa who have crossed to France to get vaccinated. Until this Monday, several centers near the border allowed the vaccination of Spaniards, as advanced by ‘El Diario Vasco’, although they did not reside in the country or work in it. It was enough to book an appointment through DoctoLib, the official French application for managing dose administration. In a couple of minutes and providing only a few personal data such as name and surname, an email and mobile phone, in addition to the age and which vaccine the dose was desired, the appointment was closed for both the first puncture and for the second. .

However, the avalanche of requests made this Monday the Biarritz vaccination center, the main pilgrimage point and 50 kilometers from the Gipuzkoan capital, to decide to turn off the tap and only inoculate those Spaniards who could prove they reside or work in France. And although this was also the premise that this Tuesday ruled in Capbreton, at noon, the Prefecture of the department of Las Landas again gave the green light to the inoculation of any person.

“They let us vaccinate again,” explained to elDiario.es/Euskadi one of those responsible for comparing the data with the reservations. At 10 a.m., an hour earlier, however, the guideline was different. “I’m sorry, but at 8.30 we received a call from the Prefecture and we can no longer vaccinate. Do you have residence in France? ”, This same person asked in Spanish three young people from Gipuzkoa who crowded at the door with a closed reservation but without any document proving that they met the new requirements to receive their first dose.

“We had an appointment in Biarritz, but seeing that they no longer vaccinated, we decided to change places. We have many friends from Gipuzkoa and also some from Madrid who have come,” explained one of the members of this last group, who has returned to Donostia without having received a puncture. At that same moment, a couple from Donostia and their 13-year-old son received the same response. “So we go on vacation safer,” mentioned the parents, who did not want to give their name, while explaining that the objective of the trip was to get the child vaccinated, because they are already immunized.

The couple claimed that they had called by phone first thing in the morning and confirmed that there would be no problem, that they would only have to pay 7.30 euros as they did not have a French Social Security card. This, precisely, has been one of the rumors that has spread in recent days in Gipuzkoa, that in some vaccination points in France the payment of vaccines was required, an extreme that has not been confirmed by any official source; in fact, in the consulted vaccination centers they have affirmed the opposite, that no charge is made, at least at the moment of inoculating the doses.

We had an appointment in Biarritz, but seeing that they no longer vaccinated, we decided to change places. We have many friends from Gipuzkoa and also some from Madrid who have come

Lorenzo and Barros have had more luck, arriving just after noon, after having received the green light from those responsible for the vaccination point in Capbreton to continue administering doses with no other requirements than to have closed a previous appointment. The two friends had to present their ID, their Osakidetza (Basque Health Service) cards, in addition to filling in a sheet to specify if they had previously passed COVID-19, if they had any allergies, if they had had any previous problems with any another vaccine or if they were pregnant. “We have waited three minutes and they have given us the doses”, they have maintained.

Lorenzo, a Communication student, specified that one of the reasons for not having waited for his turn in Euskadi is that next September he will be going on Erasmus to Corsica and as there is still no closed date for the administration of doses in twenty-somethings, getting vaccinated in France she was “calmer”. This morning, the Minister of Health, Gotzone Sagardui, avoided asking young people to stop going to France, and although she recognized that those who have decided to cross the border are not complying with the protocol established in Euskadi, she stated that this is a ” free option “.

At the moment in which the two friends from San Sebastian crossed the door of the vaccination point in Capbreton, the nationalities of those who had an appointment at that time were divided 50% between Spanish and French. In fact, those responsible for taking the data addressed the attendees indistinctly in Spanish and French. In this town, with an average administration of 500 doses a day, 30 Spaniards received their first puncture this Monday, while this Tuesday the volume of reserves of people on this side of the border was higher.

“In case it sneaks in”

In Hendaye, a border town, the scene was very different. Despite the fact that many Gipuzkoans have approached the city vaccination point in recent days, in this space the administration of doses to Spaniards who do not prove they reside in the town or in a nearby town -but always in French territory- has never been allowed. , or work there. In fact, given the avalanche of reservations processed in recent days, this Tuesday, the health workers who inoculate the doses have received a message from the health authorities reminding them that all people must meet one of these two requirements.

“We have a problem and it is that in the DoctoLib application they do not ask you at any time for your Social Security number,” explained one of those responsible for the vaccination point in Hendaye. For this reason, anyone can book their appointment and even if they already know that they do not meet the requirements “they end up crossing the border in case they slip”.

However, this avalanche of appointments – this Monday the number of Spaniards who tried to be vaccinated was “brutal” -, only creates problems in the cities near the muga. “The problem is that there are excess doses. We have planned for each day a number of doses according to the appointments that have been reserved and some may end up expiring,” said the person in charge. This Tuesday, for example, “four or five people” have run out of their doses, and on more than one occasion they have had to look for people in nearby restaurants so as not to waste the doses. “If you live in Donostia, if you work in Donostia, why does it have to be the French Social Security and not the Basque Country the one that vaccinates you?”

Many doubts to solve

No French authority has explained, for the moment, why in some departments of the country – or directly, in certain municipalities – they do allow vaccinating people who cannot prove that they are residents of France or work there, but not in others. An example is the confusion experienced in Capbreton. If at the vaccination point they changed their minds at noon, arguing that they were orders from the Prefecture, from the Regional Health Agency of Nueva Aquitaine, on which the town depends, they indicated by phone that the administration of unfulfilled doses was not allowed. either of the two requirements.

Likewise, neither the Spanish Ministry of Health, nor the French, nor Osakidetza herself have been able to confirm that people who already have their first dose can also receive the second. Lorenzo and Barros, the two friends from San Sebastian, have been given a certificate and an identification number “very important to keep”, as they have been explained, “for the inoculation of the second dose.” However, they admitted that they were not very sure that this would happen as it should. “We have reserved the appointment for the second dose, but we do not know if it is guaranteed or if when the day arrives they will tell us that it is not possible,” they declared.

In our interactive specials, you can consult all the data on the evolution of the pandemic in Euskadi, Over the positive and deceased in each and every one of the residences in Álava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa and the advance day to day of the vaccination campaign. We also have maps with lthe most prominent shoots.