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Everything posted by Catalpa

  1. [quote user="idun"]Catalpa, have I misread or do you seem to be  defending how this is being dealt with. [/quote]
    Misread? Or did you not read at all?

    I stated clearly (well, I thought it was clear and unambiguous)...

    [quote]I'm most appalled by the abysmally small quantities of vaccine that are being delivered across the EU. [/quote]
    So, to clarify:
    I am definitely defending the efforts of people like our two MTs and their team doing their best in these current circumstances. Of course it's bleddy obvious that two doctors doing the vaccinations just for their patient lists is not enough even with similar efforts being replicated across this rural region. But that's how it is. And from the sound of it, there are plenty of over 60s elsewhere in France who'd be grateful for that level of effort - Judith's OH being one, I suspect.

    As I outlined earlier, we're both mid-60s yet in the last 3 weeks we've been offered two appointments from different sources for our first vaccination.

    What I am not sure you are grasping even now is there are two steps to a successful vaccination program. One is the infrastructure to administer the vaccine but that is dependent (obviously!) on the availability of doses of vaccine. France and other EU countries do not have the latter - not compared to the UK, Israel, etc.

    The EU's purchasing / ordering strategy was wrong. I damn them for that though hindsight is 20/20 and similar clichés. France's vaccination roll-out made a three-legged tortoise look hyperactive but the EU's / France's delivery of the vaccines from suppliers has been unreliable. For that, as I've said elsewhere, I trust at some point OAZ will be held accountable for over-promising and persistently under-delivering to the EU and other countries. The whole world is looking for vaccines and the UK, after its appalling management of the pandemic pre-vaccine, has struck lucky with its vaccine purchase plan and investments. And for that, Matt Hancock thanked the script writers of 'Contagion'.

    Unless the vaccine delivery - ie, orders fulfilled - improves across the EU, not just France, infections and deaths are not going to diminish. Yes, large pharmacies and small hospitals could no doubt be mobilised but for what? I say again - there isn't the volume of vaccine doses available across France to make it worthwhile at this time. Your idea of taking large pharmacies and small hospitals off line when there are few vaccines to administer would just further cripple the 'normal' delivery of non-CV health care - which, I'm happy to say, is still taking place in this region.

    The need for larger centres in rural areas may change from 16 April (though logistical challenges of getting rural arms to centres won't) when the Janssen (J&J) vaccine starts fulfilling orders and that vaccine requires one dose only to be effective. The downside is the predicted efficacy which is substantially below that of P-BNT, Moderna and OAZ.

  2. John Lichfield, who used to be the Independent's France correspondence (in the days when the Independent was worthwhile) and has been a French and Europe commentator for years.

    He now does a round up of Covid and vaccinations in France generally, twice a week via Twitter. Even if you're not on Twitter, I think you can still read his contributions. They're invariably concise, factual, blunt and worth reading. This is today's.

  3. [quote user="idun"] Two MT's giving the vaccines?  [/quote]
    Yes? And?

    They are the two 'resident' MTs from the immediate locality, supported by local infirmières, providing vaccinations in an easily accessible place for those of their patients who qualified.

    Judging by the number of A4 laminated centres de vaccination signs I see popping up in even small villages (pops <500) plenty of MTs are doing something similar, particularly at weekends.

    It is not ideal, of course, but that's the way - France being generally vaccine resistant for reasons we've previously covered - it's being done here at the moment. Bear in mind not everyone drives and with public transport being sparse in rural France (not to mention not entirely advisable in the current circs) it's better than only using large vaccination centres.

    I'm most appalled by the abysmally small quantities of vaccine that are being delivered across the EU.

  4. I'm sick of seeing Macron, Merkel and even Johnson castigated for whatever actions they (or don't) take currently. Criticise the EUs vaccine purchase program or the rollout, sure (and I'd also criticise AZ for selling the same vaccine production several times over)  but I'm not going to whine about < insert politician of choice > delaying lockdowns or whatever when I believe I need to take responsibility for my own behaviours.

    A year on from this being declared a pandemic, anyone with a functioning brain knows what we need to do to stay safe until we are vaccinated - and afterwards. I do not want A Leader to be forced to tell us once again that another lockdown / curfew / whatever is necessary because there are still too many idiots who believe it is their right to behave in a way that continues to spread this bloody disease. If it's a sunny spring day and you arrive at a beach or a national park and the place is already packed, don't join the masses, just exercise some restraint and go home. It's really not difficult to figure out.

    Politicians - governments - should now be focussing on what happens this time next year - booster vaccinations? A new type of longer-lasting vaccine? Better, early treatments for those who can't be vaccinated. An international scientific task force to rapidly identify variants and how to modify vaccines quickly to fight them. Routes to safely start up economies again. That's what should be the focus now.

  5. The number of vaccinations delivered per day is going up but I can't see it reaching 500,000 per day any time soon not least because of doses available in France. This is a useful site though it is not always updated daily.

    According to my interpretation of that information, France has only had slightly over 12m doses of all vaccines available for arms so far. If France did achieve 500k per day, they'd have ripped through the remaining doses within a week.

    Getting an appointment
    We (both in our 60s) hedged our bets:
    - regular contact with our MT who is young and proactive

    - OH's company has a médecin du travail so he phoned and signed up there
    - we used Doctorlib though never found any appointments available

    - we also kept in touch with our pharmacy as she's a small business but well-connected so tho' she wouldn't be setting up to administer jabs, she'd hear about who was

    The MT phoned with appointments for 10 days ago so we both had our first AZ vaccination then. Second is scheduled for 9 weeks time (phone for appt in 8 weeks).

    Médecin du travail also phoned this week with offer of vaccination for next week which we declined, obvs.

    The appointment
    Local mairie (not ours) set up as vaccination centre. Timed appointments and from chatting in the queue they weren't all for the same time! People were turning up early for their appointments as they didn't want to miss out. No one seemed to care which vaccine they would get, just pleased it was happening at last.

    - our two local MTs had separate tables + separate sides of hall + separate sets of infirmières administering injections
    - brief chat with MT re vaccine, side effects, any questions, etc, and to provide carte vitale, get printout of instructions personalised to me with details of the vaccine, batch nr, etc
    - queue for jab, producing cv again so the infirmière gets paid
    - wait for 15 mins after jab before blood pressure was taken and we were released into the wild

    It wasn't a fast process. OH and I were processed together but from sitting down with MT and leaving it was just over an hour. However, hearing about people's experiences in some parts of the UK, they don't always get issued with paperwork (though there are tales of smiley stickers being handed out - to adults!) so I do prefer France's methodical approach to delivering vaccine into arm and giving me the details.

    The aftermath
    - OH had a sore arm for several days but no other symptoms
    - I had a sore arm + mild shivery / hot / cold symptoms for about 36 hours but not bad and more like a feverish cold than flu. I didn't need paracetamol (and ibuprofen not recommended, said MT, because there is evidence ibuprofen and asprine + similar may interfere with the reaction of the body to the vaccine. If you get a bad reaction at the injection site, take antihistamines.

    The main thing I take from this is there is an element of a vaccine postcode lottery going on and if you don't want to sit and wait to be summoned, do some phoning around and express your interest in getting vaccinated as widely as possible.

    @Chessie, are you a registered 'carer' for your OH? If so, I know some carers (who are simply 'present' in the home as opposed to actually hauling their partners in and out of a wheelchair, for eg) are prioritised.

    Congratulations to anyone who's read this far. Have a sticker. [kiss]

  6. [quote user="BritinBretagne"]...

    I’m fairly sure that the term U.K. variety was first used in the U.K. to identify it as being a different mutation as the South African and Brazil mutations have been labelled. Nothing malicious here, just an accepted system.[/quote]
    On the odd snatches of Coronavirus News at 5 I encounter, I hear the UK variety being referred to as the Kent variant. Presumably the B117 variant is too difficult for the population to remember especially when you include the B1351 (South African variant), the B1128... [8-)]

    As you say, BinB, nothing malicious, just convenient.

  7. The O-AstraZeneca vaccine has re-started in Normandy - as of Friday afternoon. The period between first and second vaccinations of O-AZ has been pushed out to 8-9 weeks.

  8. There's a guy I read on Twitter (yes, I know, but Twitter isn't 100% bats**t crazy, it just seems like it) who regularly analyses French Covid statistics and now the roll-out / delivery of the vaccine. He's worth reading and has some... cheering?... thoughts about the programme speeding up.

    You don't need to join Twitter to read.

    Also... Vitamin D
    In Normandy, sunshine is in short supply in winter and spring (though nice oily fish and eggs are not). There does seem to be some evidence for Vit D boosting the immune system so we spoke to our pharmacist about effective supplements and she recommended

    It's about 7 €uro for spray you apply daily under the tongue because that (our pharmacist says) is the best route to efficient absorption, more so than with tablets.

    So if you want to give your immune system a boost - or at least feel as if you are doing something more than mask, distance, wash while passively waiting for the vaccine to arrive, that's what we're doing.

    Happy weekend. [kiss]

  9. [quote user="idun"]LOL Mine would probably be the Perils of Idun, things happen to me that really should not, as I have been telling mint recently![/quote]
    You know you've reached the point where you might need spectacles when you read the above as the Penis of Idun...

    ...and then you wonder about your impression of Idun because initially, you dwell more on how you've always thought Idun was female rather than the likelihood of such a phrase appearing on CF anyway.


    But apart from that, great post Woolly.

  10. I'd probably not bother contacting embassies or consulates on the basis they are unlikely to fine-tune published advice according to my exact circumstances. But particularly I wouldn't bother because at the point of travel, it's airline staff and ferry companies that ultimately decide who to allow on board and their interpretation of the rules may not - as some travellers have experienced - be accurate.

    I'd accept that at this time - pandemic, Covid tests, Brexit + rapid amendments to rules - I'd prefer to control the things I can control and I'd apply for a new passport now regardless of any loss of months of validity.

  11. Mint - a device (pc, laptop, tablet, etc) uses an operating system (eg Windows) to get the device ready to use. Uses may be MS Office programs or connecting to the internet. To connect to the internet your operating system needs a web browser.

    Examples of browsers are IE, Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Opera. These programs are downloaded from the web and saved to your device.

    Examples of search engines are Google, Duckduckgo and, of course, Bing! No search engine is downloaded to your device but your browser will need one to find information / find its way to sites you use.

    As a generalisation, you can't access the web from your device without a browser and you can't then search the web without using a search engine.

    The following may be a crap analogy so I'll apologise in advance but...

    A browser is like your hands physically picking up and opening - accessing - an encyclopaedia (the web). Everything is in there but until you have a way of accessing the book, you can't search for the information you want. A browser (like Opera) connects you to (opens) the book (web).

    Having opened the encyclopaedia via your browser (Opera) next step is to find information and to do that Opera needs a search engine to read the index and link you to the relevant entries.

    (I now have serious doubts as to how helpful this post might be! [:P] Sorry!)

    Anyhoo, I use Firefox browser and my default search engine is Google. Somewhere along the line, probably because you clicked on something accidentally without noticing, Opera thinks you want Bing to be your default (preferred) search engine. There will be ways to change to Google (or whichever) and this link might help you.

    Now... do I press POST or delete this message? Er... [6]

  12. I'm slightly concerned about some private militia-organised catastrophe at the Inauguration - terrifyingly well-equipped, some of these groups. But putting that aside and looking forward to the presidency: at least the guy taking hold of the poisoned chalice has the experience of two full terms as vice-president to draw upon.

    He's not going to need to - or want to - pull in rafts of people who have no idea what they're doing other than arriving with a desire to deconstruct and trash that which had gone before. And personally profit from the new. This should be an experienced administration from the start. Which, considering the pandemic and everything it is doing to countries globally, can only be a good thing.
  13. Are you still using an old version of Internet Explorer as your browser, Mint? If so, this link may help you...

    << The Internet Explorer that comes with Windows 8 has Bing as its default

    search engine, of course, as it’s a Microsoft product. Most of you

    who’re fond of Google might not like this and want to change the default

    search engine to Google, well, it seems possible now. By simply

    changing some settings here and there you can set Google as your default

    search provider. >>

    Continuing to use Windows 8 + IE10(?) may leave you vulnerable to security problems, though. I'm not sure either are supported nowadays. But others will have better knowledge, i'm sure, so I'm happy to be corrected on that.

  14. Thanks for the information and links, Pomme. Now I know what to research, it makes interesting reading and answers my questions.

  15. Sorry to hear of your problems, Mint.

    It would probably help to know what version of Windows you're using. And re Word, etc, are you paying an annual subscription for updates, etc, and if so, have you cancelled it or has your credit card for automatic renewal expired?

    It's most likely a Windows update has caused your normal icons and shortcuts to disappear but we probably need a bit more info in order to guess. Have you closed down your device completely and then re-started? Sometimes (rarely) my icons disappear for no obvious reason but everything resets itself when I do a complete shutdown.

    File Explorer is the Windows 10 version of Windows Explorer so what's you're looking for there depends on your version of Windows.

  16. [quote user="alittlebitfrench"]

    Albf is Angry.

    ALBF family and co have always played life by the rules. By doing so, we just get screwed all the time. [/quote]

    Referring to oneself in the third person always looks a bit weird...

    That said:

    We (99%) play by the rules here in France. We did in the UK. It's who we are. We don't get 'screwed' - by the system or anyone else.

    There are aspects of the French way of life that are open to abuse and - I agree - abuse happens. Same in the UK. I knew of people who operated half their lives 'tax-free'. But no country, system or culture is perfect - because it involves human nature. Yes, we can choose to move elsewhere... but we always take ourselves, our attitudes, our dissatisfactions, with us.

    We can choose to live safely by our own values and standards in many countries and personally, what others are apparently / allegedly doing in their own small lives is mainly none of my business and I lose no sleep over it.

    If I was aware of fraud or scamming on a massive scale I'd try and do something about it but that doesn't seem to be what we're discussing here. Someone obtaining a CdeS they're not entitled to or remaining registered with the NHS while they spend most of their time in France or Spain... not my problem, not my worry. Probably, one day, sooner or later, it will be theirs.

    e2a: a most excellent post above, Eurotr@sh.

  17. It may be that each region - or even departement - is doing things a little differently. It's not unknown, it's one of the... charms of French bureaucracy. Isn't it? [;-)]

    Perhaps someone received their TdeS before provision of fingerprints was a thing... in which case I expect that will be rectified via an appointment at the relevant préfecture before the replacement card is issued.

    We applied online to change our existing 10 year TdeS (which still had 9 years to run) in November. Our generic confirmation of application received email says:



    Vous venez d’effectuer une demande en ligne de titre de séjour dans le cadre de l’accord de retrait du Royaume-Uni de l’Union européenne.

    Le dépôt de cette demande au nom de XXXXXXXXXXXXX a été enregistré sous le numéro XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX1.

    Votre dossier va être transféré pour instruction vers la préfecture de votre lieu de résidence.

    Si votre dossier est complet, vous serez contacté(e) par mail pour

    convenir d’un rendez-vous auprès de votre préfecture afin de finaliser

    vos démarches (présentation de votre passeport/ prise d’empreintes/

    fourniture d’une photographie d’identité récente (format 35mm x 45mm)).

    Si une pièce est manquante ou inadaptée, vous recevrez un mail sollicitant un complément d’information.

    Vous devez conserver la présente attestation pour vos prochaines démarches en préfecture.

    Ceci est un message automatique, merci de ne pas y répondre.

    1Ce numéro d’attestation d’enregistrement est distinct du numéro de demande de titre

    de séjour (numéro « GED ») qui vous sera communiqué par mail par la

    préfecture en charge du traitement de votre dossier. Lors de vos futures

    démarches, vous devrez utiliser votre numéro de demande de titre de séjour.


    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    - - - - - - - - - - - - -


    Le présent document atteste que, conformément à la règlementation applicable, Mme / M. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx a déposé une demande de titre de séjour dans le cadre de l’accord de retrait du Royaume-Uni de l’Union européenne.

    Mme / M. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx conserve l’ensemble de ses droits prévus par l’accord de retrait jusqu’à ce que sa demande de titre de séjour soit instruite par la préfecture.


    In normal times, I wouldn't be surprised if interviews were required to deliver new photos or to re-confirm (if the TdeS is several years old) that applicants are still clearly part of 'the system' - ie, tax returns, have health care cover, etc. Things can change over a number of years.

    Still, at this virus-ridden time, I think organising a succession of face-to-face meetings in offices would be a bit surprising, but... < shrug >

  18. [:)] We will get there eventually, Mint... but yeah, the general thinking around the French vaccination plan is a bit odd - to this Anglo-Saxon brain anyway.

    What I really can't understand is why France is so vaccine-averse. A country that is so wedded to its pills and potions... why? [8-)]

  19. I'm sure someone has already provided this vaccine tracker link (France has vaccinated about 7000 people so far - 5000 yesterday, on 5th January) but as a reminder, here you go:

    It certainly isn't 'rapid'.

    Scroll down to see how other countries are getting on with their programmes.

  20. How did I miss this thread when it was started?!

    Using 6 oz of flour (of whatever sort) makes sense - I found 8 oz + the other ingredients was too dry (compared to how I remembered it) so I kneaded more mascarpone into it - another quarter of a tub. That meant I'd worked it a bit longer than it probably liked but it still worked extremely well and the mince pies vanished over the course of 2 evenings.

    I made some lemon curd yesterday so I may make another batch of pastry... [8-|]

  21. Taking the OP at face value... [Www]

    For a successful family move at this time, fluency in French is the top requirement. Confirmed jobs on CDI contracts come close second.

    Get yourselves confirmed employment. Yes, I know, Brexit and Coronavirus are obstacles but even without them, moving countries with a family is always going to be a challenge and far more expensive than you budgeted for.

    When you've got confirmed, permanent jobs to come to, that's your entry into the health system, it informs your location choice (avoid buying a renovation money pit) and from then on, Bob's your oncle.

    At the time of a global pandemic when we have no idea how the travel and tourism industry is going to regenerate, put any thoughts of running gîtes, b&bs, etc, out of your mind.

    Be honest with yourself about why you're moving. If getting out / getting away from the UK features anywhere in your thinking, find a nicer place in the UK to live - and work. Post-pandemic, there will be horrendous unemployment problems across Europe. If you have the right to live and work in Britain, is it wise to disadvantage yourselves by moving now? Wait until the effects of the double whammy of Brexit and Coronavirus are a little more clear and then reassess your plans from a position of knowledge.

  22. [quote user="NormanH"]I'd like to invite you both to explain exactly how you would envisage the logistics of vaccinating people in the thinly populated rural areas of France, given that the vaccine[/quote]
    That is a problem - whether the country is the US or the UK or France... but...

    ...in most countries, the locations with the worst (or, from the virus's pov, the best) transmission rates are the major cities. Start the vaccinations there (Paris, Lille, Marseille, Toulouse, Lyon) while the problem of distribution to the smaller towns and more remote areas is addressed and solved. If that causes a dismayed "what about us" reaction outside the main cities, that starts to solve the resistant to the idea of a vaccination problem.

    Perhaps, with more and more people accepting the vaccines and cautiously returning to a more 'normal' life, the antivaxers will see that there's little to be feared and plenty - for themselves, their families, their communes, their businesses, social culture - to be gained.

    The number of obstacles put in the way of administering the vaccine won't help France. I'd line up for the vaccine this morning - if the option were there - but I or someone I love may die while waiting for French beauracracy to convince those who're more scared of the vaccination than the virus to apply a little logic and common sense.  

    There were a further 26,000+ cases identified in France yesterday. Even allowing for under-reporting earlier in the week, the figure is climbing again.

  23. Yes - I read about this (AstraZeneca-Oxford) vaccine approval earlier. It doesn't seem to be the EMA dragging its feet...

    << Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad quoted the EMA deputy executive

    director Noel Wathion as saying: “They have not even filed an

    application with us yet
    . Not even enough to warrant a conditional

    marketing licence.

    “We need additional data about the quality of the vaccine. And, after that, the company has to formally apply.” >>


    So it's not just the EMA being careful or wary - if a company doesn't apply for a product to be marketed in a country (or group of) - the country can't approve / licence / buy it for use. Disappointing for France (or not) as that may be.

    I'm surprised France is so slow off the starting blocks with regard to getting the vaccine programme started... and then again I'm not surprised because in my limited experience with France and organisation of major events over the past years, France is sluggish and unwilling to learn from others' experiences.

    The longer the

    masses remain unvaccinated, the more people will continue to contract

    it and it therefore follows that a percentage of those will suffer long

    term consequences or die. And then there's how a slow, badly managed

    roll-out will directly affect the resurrection of the economy... [:(]

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