This content was published on January 12, 2021 – 6:46 PM
Par Geert De Clercq
PARIS (Reuters) – The French government is due to provide daily updates on how many people it has vaccinated against COVID-19 as it is criticized for being slow compared to other European countries.
Health Minister Olivier Veran told parliament on Tuesday that his ministry would publish a detailed table with the number of people vaccinated by region by 6.30 p.m. GMT at the latest each day.
A first list was published on Monday, showing that more than 138,000 people had been vaccinated to date. This compares to 2.4 million shots administered in Great Britain, 719,000 in Italy and 689,000 in Germany.
That French number is also far lower than the more than one million vaccine doses available, but Veran said the government will stick to its policy of prioritizing the most vulnerable, even if that means a slower pace.
France has given priority to residents of retirement homes, before extending it to health workers over 50 or suffering from existing diseases. From January 18, the vaccine will be available to people over the age of 75 living at home.
Veran said the government is also making plans to make vaccines available to people under the age of 75 with certain illnesses – with a goal of having a total of 1 million people vaccinated by the end of January.
“We cannot vaccinate the whole population at once. Vaccines must first be produced and distributed, ”said Veran.
Dismissing criticism of the deployment of opposition and hospital workers treating growing numbers of patients, he said the decision to prioritize specific groups was made by an independent health authority in December.
“By Easter, I hope 5 million people will have received the vaccine,” he said.
Veran said France is receiving an additional 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine per week, which will rise to 1 million per week.
On Monday, France received the first 50,000 doses of Moderna vaccine, which will be deployed in areas facing a sharp increase in cases.
COVID-19 infections in France are increasing on average by more than 18,000 per day, a peak in seven weeks, and nearly 25,000 patients are being treated, according to data released Monday.
A survey carried out this month suggested that six in 10 French people would refuse the vaccination.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Additional reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Alison Williams)