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France prepares for first Moderna vaccine doses to arrive

Moderna vaccine is approved and set to arrive in France January 11, vaccination centres open and jabs increase - we summarise vaccine updates

Vaccinations against Covid-19 are continuing in France, with more than 100,000 people set to have been vaccinated by this weekend, and the new Moderna vaccine now approved by medical authorities.

Vaccination rollout

The Moderna vaccine is set to arrive in France on January 11, Health Minister Olivier Véran has said. The American-made jab has shown a 94% effectiveness in trials.

Up until now, only the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been used. Both vaccines require two doses, given at least 48 hours, and up to six weeks, apart.

Vaccinations are continuing to increase in France.

The minister said: “Next week, the speed will increase even more. We are already at the daily average for European countries, and we will have the first 50,000 of the new Moderna vaccine from Monday.”

He said that France will reach the 100,000 vaccinations this weekend.

Currently, vaccinations are available for elderly care home residents and healthcare workers aged 50 and over.

Read more: Easy-look guide to France’s Covid-19 vaccination roll-out

Nancy begins to vaccinate over 75s

The city of Nancy, in Meurthe-et-Moselle, Grand Est, is set to begin vaccinating people over 75 from January 13.

This is several days ahead of the national timetable. It was confirmed in a joint statement from the city authorities, the Meurthe-et-Moselle prefecture, the Nancy CHRU hospital, and local health community la Communauté professionnelle de territoire de santé du Grand Nancy (CPTS).

It comes after Jean Rottner, president of the Grand Est region, condemned the slow speed of the vaccination rollout in France as a “state scandal”.

Mass testing in Bagneux

The Paris suburb of Bagneux has launched a “mass testing” campaign after one person tested positive for the UK variant of the virus. This has been deemed worrying, as the individual works in two schools, and had not recently travelled to the UK or had any contact with anyone else who had travelled.

There are currently estimated to be around 40 cases of the UK variant in France, and three of the South African variant, the health ministry reports.

Read more - UK Covid variant in France: Details of two clusters

Strasbourg vaccination centre seeks staff

The Grand Est city of Strasbourg is set to open a vaccination centre on January 18, to begin vaccinations for elderly people as soon as possible.

It is seeking healthcare workers for the centre.

Mayor Jeanne Barseghian this weekend said the city was “ready to open a vaccination centre from January 18”, in a large 500m2 hall in the city centre, which is usually used for concerts, conferences or major events.

Dr Alexandre Feltz, public health and environmental deputy, said: “We need health professionals, whether they are GPs or nurses” to open more vaccination centres and for the municipal centre.”

Strasbourg has almost 20,000 people aged 75 and over.

On Saturday, the health minister and Prime Minister Jean Castex also visited a new vaccination centre in Tarbes, in the Hautes-Pyrénées.

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