Bordeaux in France is launching accelerated vaccinations after nearly 50 people have tested positive for a “very rare” variant of Covid-19.
All adult residents of the Bacalan district north of Bordeaux will have unconditional access to jabs this weekend and early next week at the latest.
Mass tests began Friday in Bacalan where the health authorities asked “to anticipate the vaccination of people over 18 without conditions”, reports Ouest France.
It comes after a group of a few dozen people who tested positive for the “disturbing” variant of Covid.
“We are working with the Ministry of Health to get the additional doses needed,” said Patrick Dehail, medical adviser to the Regional Health Authority (ARS), adding that the strengthened local effort will then be extended to the the whole of the Bordeaux region.
Many of those who tested positive were students at a local school and their parents, according to the Guardian.
France variant similar to the Kent strain
The double mutant has already been identified throughout France, including in the north of Paris, where cases have been very rare so far.
In Bordeaux, at least 46 people have been infected, none of whom have been vaccinated or hospitalized, according to Mr. Dehail.
The medical director said there was “no reason to believe these cases will be more serious” or that the variant is resistant to mRNA vaccines like Pfizer or Moderna.
“We are not worried and the population has no reason to be,” he said.
“But this is an opportunity to remind people that the virus is still circulating and that lifting the restrictions should not be seen as a return to life before without limits.”
Bordeaux: What now?
According to Mr. Dehail, the Bordeaux population is “relatively naive about the virus” in a region “relatively spared” and where “collective immunity is very low for the moment”.
He added that the National Reference Center in Lyon is now responsible for a more detailed analysis of the variant.
About four in five of all new Covid cases in France are the English variant.