Over 75s to get Covid vaccine in France before end of month
The announcement was made by the country’s health minister following criticism of the government for its slow start to the campaign
People aged over 75 living at home will begin to receive their vaccination against Covid-19 before the end of January, Health Minister Olivier Véran announced yesterday (January 4) in an interview with radio network RTL.
Initial government plans stated that this category of the population would not be vaccinated until February or March, but Mr Véran said he wished to “amplify, accelerate and simplify" the vaccination strategy.
Mr Véran also announced the vaccine will be available from today for firefighters, emergency health service workers and home helpers over the age of 50.
France has so far prioritised vaccinating elderly people living in care homes. Last weekend, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said health workers over the age of 50 would have access to the vaccine from Monday, January 4, instead of from February as originally planned.
Nous amplifions la campagne de vaccination, en autorisant la vaccination contre la #COVID19 :— Olivier Véran (@olivierveran) January 5, 2021
➖ À tous les professionnels de santé de ville et d'hôpital > 50 ans
➖ Aux pompiers > 50 ans
➖ Aux aides à domicile > 50 ans pic.twitter.com/KWOHCuFGGX
France has received criticism from some for the slowness of its vaccine roll-out, including from President Emmanuel Macron himself and leading geneticist Axel Kahn, who has called it a "disaster".
Latest figures show that France has vaccinated 5,000 people since it began its campaign on December 27. In Germany, where the roll-out began one day before, around a quarter of a million people have been vaccinated.
Mr Véran said yesterday that the “vaccination rate will catch up with that of our neighbours in the coming days”.
To do this, the number of vaccination centres will be increased from 100 to 300 by next week and between 500 to 600 by the end of January, he said.
France will also increase its vaccine orders. Mr Véran said that 500,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be received this week and 500,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine will be available every month once it gains approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The EMA's committee for human medicines will meet tomorrow (January 6) to discuss approval for the vaccine. It has already been approved for use in the US.
Mr Véran also announced that people wishing to get vaccinated will be able to put their names on a register from Thursday (January 7).
This will be possible by telephone, online or through the TousAntiCovid phone application.
Further details of this will be announced on Thursday evening when Mr Véran will hold a press conference on the Covid-19 situation.