Reader question: Any development on solving the lack of vaccine appointments in France? I have just been on Doctolib again and there is a message saying more appointments will be available when new doses arrive. When will they arrive?
The answer to this is not clear, although France’s health minister did say that starting on January 29, half-a-million new Covid-19 vaccination appointments should be made available.
Doctolib, an online booking platform that is officially partnered with the government for the vaccination campaign, is reporting a lack of available doses at centres.
Pfizer-BioNTech announced today (February 1) that it would supply 75 million extra doses of its vaccine to the EU in the second quarter of 2021.
This would bring the total number of doses due to be delivered by the middle of the year up to 600 million, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated.
France was expecting to receive around 26 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the end of June, so this number will likely now increase.
We are working with pharmaceutical companies to ensure vaccines are delivered to Europeans. #BioNTech/@pfizer will deliver 75 million of additional doses in the second quarter of the year - and up to 600 millions in total in 2021.— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 1, 2021
AstraZeneca, meanwhile, announced yesterday that it would deliver 9 million more doses in the first quarter of the year, bringing the total up to 40 million doses by the end of March.
This is still only half of what the pharmaceutical company had originally aimed for before it announced production issues in January.
The AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for use in the EU on Friday (January 29), making it the third vaccine after Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to receive authorisation in the Bloc.
The government initially announced that it hoped to receive 77 million vaccine doses by the end of June and to have vaccinated 15 million of the most vulnerable people by then.
France’s government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, has said that the government is aiming to stick to this plan.
“Our objective before the summer is that 15 million vulnerable people [will be vaccinated]. We are doing everything we can to maintain this,” he said.
This target relies on five vaccines firstly gaining approval from medical authorities and secondly the pharmaceutical companies being able to produce and ship the number of doses promised.
On the first note, three vaccines have been approved, but all three have faced production issues.
France is still waiting on two vaccines, made by CureVac and Janssen-Johnson & Johnson, to submit applications for approval with the European Medicines Agency.
News agency Reuters has reported that the Johnson & Johnson vaccination could be available for rollout in the EU from April 1, with approval for it given at the beginning of February.
France expects to receive 8 million doses of this vaccine by the end of June. Unlike the other four vaccines, only one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is required for full efficacy.
There is no news yet on when Curevac will apply for authorisation for its Covid vaccine. France is also expecting to receive 8 million doses of this vaccine by the end of June, although two doses of it are required per patient.
In France, 1,479,909 people have received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, while 41,318 have been fully vaccinated, latest figures show.