Reader question: With the number of Covid vaccine doses it has, it will take France 31 months to vaccinate enough people for herd immunity. Are my calculations correct?
France 24 reports that France will receive 500,000 Pfizer doses weekly. Additionally 500,000 Moderna doses monthly. Official figures. This makes 2.5 million per month.
Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE, UK), has said herd immunity from vaccination won't be effective until 70 to 80% of the population get the jab.
The population of France is 65 million and about 15% are under 10 years of age, so around 55 million need the vaccination.
70% = 38,500,000. Note, everyone needs two doses, so 77 million doses required. That makes 31 months! You can expect a jab in July 2023 if you are at the end of the queue.
Answer: The mathematics on this work out but it only takes into account the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. France has ordered a total of six different kinds of vaccines.
Find out more about which vaccines France has ordered here.
Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been approved by European and French regulatory bodies, but it is expected that the AstraZeneca one will gain approval at the end of January.
Prime Minister Jean Castex has said, “our objective is to vaccinate the 15 million elderly people suffering from chronic diseases as a priority, as quickly as possible.
“If we [succeed], we will have protected them from the health risk and we will have protected our hospitals,” he said during a press conference on January 7.
The success of that plan, as our reader worked out, depends on vaccines that have yet to be approved for usage.
Our graph below shows how many doses of each vaccine France has ordered and when it expects they will be delivered.
If, in the best case scenario, all vaccines are approved, by June France will receive enough doses to fully vaccinate 42.5 million people. This takes into account the fact that all vaccines require two doses except that from Janssen-Johnson & Johnson which requires only one.
You can read more here about the timing of approval for other vaccines.