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France will not rule on Covid vaccines for under-12s until early 2022

The health minister said the country was waiting for advice from the European Medicines Agency. He also discussed booster jabs and a fifth Covid wave in an interview

The health minister said that France would wait to “see what the French and European authorities say” before vaccinating under-12s in a new interview update Pic: FamVeld / Shutterstock

France is set to make a decision on whether to vaccinate under-12s against Covid in early 2022, the health minister has said, in a new interview that also discussed booster jabs and rising Covid cases.

Olivier Véran was speaking on TF1, the day after President Emmanuel Macron’s TV speech on the latest Covid situation.

Read more: Boosters, masks, fifth wave: Key points of Macron’s speech on Covid

Vaccinations for under-12s?

Mr Véran said that from mid-December, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is set to “tell us transparently if the benefit-risk ratio of vaccinating 5-11-year-olds justifies authorisation or not”.

He said: “There will be no decision before the end of the year or the start of 2022. What the US is showing, and what [US medicines agency] the Food and Drug Administration is telling us, is that the vaccine is effective. But we will see what the French and European authorities say.”

Read more: Will France follow the US and roll out Covid vaccine to under-12s?

Booster doses

The minister also said that the booster campaign is “going well”, after an “absolute record” 214,000 booster doses were administered on November 10, the day after Mr Macron’s speech.

Mr Véran said that three-quarters of eligible people aged 65 and over have already had a booster dose. He said: “We have passed four million boosters.”

Read more: Surge for Covid booster doses in lead up to Macron’s Tuesday TV speech

Read more: France mandatory Covid booster jab from December: Who does it concern?

Fifth wave

Yet, Mr Véran was more pessimistic about the current state of the epidemic in France. The incidence rate (number of cases per 100,000 people) has risen 40% in the past week. 

The minister said: “[We are] very clearly at the start of a fifth wave.” 

But, he said: “The big difference [now] is that because we are vaccinated and continuing to respect barrier gestures, we can ride this wave out as we did the fourth wave: We have had some ill people, but at the same time we had fewer people in hospital and fewer deaths.”

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Fifth Covid wave and lockdown possible in France says Institut Pasteur

France could approve Pfizer vaccine for under 12s by end of this year

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