France will restart use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine from tomorrow afternoon (March 19) following an announcement by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) that it is safe and effective.
France temporarily suspended use of the vaccine on Monday (March 15) due to a small number of reports of blood clots in people who had received the vaccination. Twelve other EU countries, including Germany, Italy and Spain, also suspended the vaccine.
“The EMA’s opinion confirms that the AstraZeneca vaccine is one that is not only highly effective in combating the onset of severe forms of the disease, but is also a safe, secure vaccine,” Prime Minister Jean Castex said during a press briefing that followed shortly after EMA’s.
He said that he himself will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine tomorrow afternoon “to show that we can have complete confidence in it”.
Mr Castex, 55, does not fall into the priority category to be vaccinated as he does not suffer from existing health conditions.
He reiterated the government targets of vaccinating 10 million people by mid-April, 20 million by mid-May and 30 million by mid-June.
“That’s two-thirds of the population of willing people over the age of 18,” he said.
“We have almost completed the vaccination of residents of nursing homes, which represent 1% of the French population but 30% of deaths due to Covid.
“Nearly 45% of all people over 75 have received a first injection,” he said.
Health Minister Olivier Véran also spoke and talked about the possibility of people at risk of developing serious forms of Covid-19 having access to new treatments.
“These treatments, known as dual monoclonal antibody therapy, have been shown in studies to prevent complications when prescribed early in people at risk of severe forms,” he said.