But confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine has been severely shaken after several countries, including Germany, Italy and France, temporarily suspended its use over fears of rare cases of blood clotting disorders among those who had been vaccinated.
France has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, climbing 24% in just a week. The variant first identified in Britain now represents three-quarters of new cases, and several regions, including the hard-hit area which includes Paris, began a new lockdown on Friday that will last at least a month.
Health officials in Paris last week ordered hospitals to cancel many of their procedures to make room for Covid-19 patients. And this week, some patients were transferred to other areas to ease pressure on hospitals.
The health regulator said France had only registered three cases of bleeding disorders after administering 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca: one for a 26-year-old woman with disseminated intravascular coagulation; and two cases of cerebrovascular thrombosis, one in a 51-year-old man and the other in a 24-year-old woman.
Until “more data” is available on these rare cases, messenger RNA vaccines like that from Pfizer should be used for people under 55, the regulator said.