Two and a half million French people will have received at least one dose of the vaccine by the end of February, the government said on Thursday. A figure half below the target put forward by Minister Olivier Véran on January 21: 4 million people were vaccinated at the end of February.
In detail, one million first injections and 1.4 million second injections will be carried out by Pfizer and Moderna in February.
350,000 fewer vaccine doses
Why such a change of goal? Due to a decline in vaccine supply. France accuses Pfizer / BioNTech of reducing doses by 200,000 at the end of January. For the Moderna vaccine, it would be 25% fewer than expected doses delivered in February, a total of around 350,000 missing doses.
And it’s not the UK vaccine AstraZeneca that is eagerly anticipated that will change the situation. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will give approval this Friday. However, experts already recommend vaccinating it only to people under the age of 65. EMA approval can therefore only be partially granted and does not affect older people. Especially since the laboratory has announced that it will dispense 4.6 million doses by the end of March, half less than expected.
Three regions postpone appointments
The result was not long in coming. Only 400,000 new appointments are open for a first injection this Friday for the second half of February, 100,000 fewer than announced. The other 600,000 appointments have already been made for the first half of the year.
However, many are those whose appointment has been postponed for a first injection, especially in Ile-de-France, Hauts-de-France and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. In Hauts-de-France, the regional health department even announced that it would postpone the dates for the first week of March.
“Many French people who want to be vaccinated are still waiting for an appointment,” admitted government spokesman Gabriel Attal. “I would like to tell you that the doses are still arriving in our country,” he tried to calm down by promising “complete transparency” about the vaccination campaign.
Last week, many appointments in several regions had to be deprogrammed in some centers due to a lack of dosages and, according to Health Minister Olivier Véran, due to a phenomenon of “overbooking”.
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What effects does the delivery have on the vaccination besides vaccination delays and difficulties in making an appointment? On France Info this Friday, Valérie Rabault, president of the socialist group in the National Assembly, was concerned that childbirth would slow down injections in the elderly and vulnerable.
It is an issue that she would like to bring up during the debate with the Prime Minister scheduled for next week in the Assembly. This debate on the new restriction measures will be followed by a non-binding vote. However, there is no doubt that the government must respond to the concerns of parliamentarians and the French.