As a third wave is said to arrive very soon, the country is about to move to the next step in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic: the vaccine campaign.
It is even beginning earlier than expected: from December 27, 2020 instead of January 4, 2021 as initially planned. Jean Castex announced that 200 million doses will be made available. The vaccination campaign is said to take place in three steps, depending on the priority populations. Here are the key dates of the vaccine campaign.
Despite this early start, France's vaccine campaign is getting stuck. Only 516 people have been vaccinated as of Friday January 1, the Health Minister said, as in Germany, over 200,000 people have been given the shot. A slow speed "accepted" by the government but irritating the people.
During his televised New Year's wishes, the President promised he will "not let unjustified slow speed settle in". Olivier Véran has gathered heads of local health agencies in order to coordinate the latest details as to the vaccine calendar.
The government ultimately decided to bring forward phase two of the vaccine campaign. Furthermore, starting Monday January 4, vaccine is open to caregivers aged 50+ and to those with comorbidities. It includes about 1.2 million people working at the shopital or as city doctors. Health caregivers can be vaccinated in vaccine centers. There will be only one per department. These centers will also be used to stock vaccine doses for the hospitals.
Another statement? Firefighters and home helpers aged 50+ can be vaccinated. As for vaccinating people aged 75+, the campaign will ultimately start by the end of January.
Last but not least, Olivier Véran announced that people wishing to get vaccinated can sign-up.
France's vaccine campaign's key dates
STEP 1: Late December 2020 – Early February 2021
On December 27, 2020, France initiated the first phase of the vaccine campaign. In compliance with the recommendations from the Haute Autorité de Santé, it will first target a part of the population at risk: elderly people living in nursing homes, as well as the staff likely to develop a severe form of the disease.
This Thursday December 31, 2020, Health Minister Olivier Véran has released several tweets detailing the vaccine campaign and said that health caregivers aged 50+ will be able to be vaccinated starting Monday January 4, 2021.
1 million people are then said to be aimed at by this first phase: it matches the number of doses available at that time.
On January 5, Olivier Véran announced firefighters and home helpers aged 50+ can be vaccinated.
Furthermore, the Minister also added that people aged 75+ can be vaccinated by the end of January.
STEP 2: February 2021 – March 2021
Once the first step has been complete and as deliveries arrive, the vaccination scheme will be extended to vulnerable people. After people aged 75+, people aged 65-74 will be vaccinated.
STEP 3: Spring 2021
The last and third phase is set to begin in the spring 2021. This time, the access to vaccine will be extended to people aged 50-64, as well as security, education professionals, people vulnerable and in precarious situations, as people living in closed facilities. Then, it will be made available to the entire population. Even though the vaccine will not be compulsory, it will be free of charge for people wishing to get vaccinated.