Vaccine deployments in France and Germany have finally started to accelerate, after a slow start and problems with supply and bureaucracy.
France continues to struggle to contain a third wave of Covid-19, but announced that it had reached its goal of 10 million inoculations a week earlier than expected, while Germany has doubled the number of vaccinations, administering a record 720,000 doses Thursday after the deployment was extended to family physicians.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn said the country was heading towards distributing 3.5 million vaccines per week in early May, with the aim of covering the population by the end of the month. ‘summer.
French Health Minister Olivier Véran said the country issued a record 510,000 vaccinations on Friday after opening the first of 40 mass vaccination centers across the country, including at the Stade de France.
The good news was tempered, however, by AstraZeneca’s announcement of further delays in vaccine deliveries. The Anglo-Swedish company has warned the EU, Iceland and Norway that it will only deliver half of the 2.6 million doses promised for the coming week due to production issues. The EU has said it is looking to acquire an additional 1.8 billion doses of what it called ‘second generation’ vaccines to inoculate children and adolescents on the continent and fight emerging variants of the coronavirus. The contract will cover 900 million doses with an option for an additional 900 million to be used in 2022 and 2023.
President Emmanuel Macron visited a Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine bottling laboratory on Friday, promising: “In 2021, we will produce on our territory 250 million doses of vaccine for France and Europe.”
Thierry Breton, European commissioner in charge of the EU working group on vaccines, said the target of having 70% of the populations of member states vaccinated by mid-July is “achievable”, but added : “It would have been even earlier if AstraZeneca had delivered all the doses that were ordered.
AstraZeneca is limited to those over 55 in France, but health officials said 533,000 people under that age who received their first dose of AstraZeneca would be offered a second different vaccine. Germany, which has limited the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to those over 60, has issued the same advice, although the World Health Organization concluded that at present there was insufficient data to recommend mixing different vaccines.
While experts are investigating the death of four people in France from thrombosis following inoculations with AstraZeneca, including a 24-year-old medical student from Nantes, Prime Minister Jean Castex visited a hospital and a center on Saturday vaccination program to reassure people of the benefits of the vaccine. outweighed the risks.