French government vows to speed up Covid vaccinations

French government vows to speed up vaccinations
Vaccination at a care home in Dijon. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The government of France has defended its Covid vaccinations policy against criticism that it is going far too slowly, with 516 vaccinations reported in the first week.

Gabriel Attal, a spokesman for the government, said the delay was down to logistics: teams had to visit elderly people in care homes and get each person’s consent.

The European Union began vaccinating with Pfizer/BioNTech doses on 27 December.

By Sunday morning about 240,000 people had been vaccinated in Germany.

The United Kingdom has become the first country in the world to start giving people the Oxford- AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. About a million people in the UK have already been vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech doses.

Gabriel Attal, quoted by French news website LCI, said the French government was following scientific advice, prioritising the elderly in care homes.

“A more gradual launch is necessary for logistical reasons: you cannot ask these people to go somewhere else in the country, and the delay is also linked to a pre-vaccination consultation and getting consent. This takes a bit more time.”

France is among Europe’s hardest-hit countries in the coronavirus pandemic. Its coronavirus death toll so far is 65,037 – just behind Italy and the UK. Hospitals in France are treating 24,780 Covid patients, BFMTV reports.

The country launched its Covid vaccinations last Monday, in line with the EU-wide roll-out. The Netherlands is the only country in the EU yet to start its vaccination campaign – the launch is set for 8 January.

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