The fight against Covid has moved up a notch... Prime Minister Jean Castex and his ministers Olivier Véran and Agnès Pannier-Runacher addressed the vaccine strategy set up in France since December 2020, as part of a press brief held this Thursday February 4, 2021.
Castex first announced good news: the one-million-people-vaccinated goal by the end of January 2021 has been met, since as of February 2, 1,617,088 people had been given their first dose. The governmenty now wishes to meet 4 million people vaccinated by the end of February, and states the vaccine campaign has escalated since lately, over 100,000 people are given the shot.
The Prime Minister also announced that "70% of the people [volunteers living in nursing homes] will be fully protected by the end of March with the second injection".
About a thousand vaccination centers are currently open. "Two million appointments have been made" Castex says who yet admits that "the main difficulty is cancelling appointments because of dose delivery delays". Yet, in order to vaccinate every person given priority as quick as possible, the PM announced the soon opening of 1.7 million extra appointments: 500,000 will open from Friday February 5 for the end of February, and 1.2 million from the middle of next week, for a first injection in March.
Agnès Pannier-Runacher also addressed vaccine delivery and production ordered by France. The Minister of Industry reminds that over 2.6 billion doses have been ordered by the EU and around 90% of them have been secured by the EU this summer with the support of the 27 State Members.
Therefore, "most doses currently shipped to France are manufactured in Europe. France will be able to vaccine all adults wishing so by the end of summer as stated by the President and the Prime Minister" she claims.
Yet, in order to fix "production tensions", the Minister announces the government is committed with the production of vaccine. "We closely work with laboratories and industrials to help them improve their production, and we control and audit factories, we check doses exported outside the EU and we make sure contracts are not broken. And that doses that cannot be delivered from European factories can be through other production sites" she explains.
"France will continue to produce four vaccines in France: Moderna from March, BioNTech from april, Curevac - if approved - from May, and Sanofi from June" the Minister lists. Pannier-Runacher wants to "use all levers to produce more and quicker".
Castex also guaranteed gaps recommended by the Health Authorities between the two injections of vaccine will be kept. "We won't make the perilous gamble of delaying the second dose" the PM says.
These statements reinforcen and support the vaccinal strategy deployed by the French government over the past weeks. The Prime Minister states "keeping you health remains the first criterion, even though it leads us to make unpopular decisions, we always intent to take consequences of our decisions into account" and the entire government has confidence in the successful execution of the vaccine schedule. The number of French willing to get vaccinated is increasing, making the government glad.