His appearance was rather unexpected… French President Macron was exceptionally invited this Tuesday February 2 on TF1 for the news broadcast hosted by Gilles Bouleau and made several announcements on the ongoing Covid vaccine campaign as well as its evolution. He first intended to reassure the French saying the campaign was going on as expected: “the vaccination campaign is a European campaign. We can only fight the virus if we follow the same pace everywhere across Europe” he explains.
He adds: “today three vaccines have been approved, others will be. The campaign goes on as planned”. The French President also reminded the different steps, assuring that all the French whishing to get vaccinated will be by the end of the summer: “We’ll keep on focusing on the most at risk. Starting early March, we’d have vaccinated all nursing home residents, 80% wished so. We’d vaccinated people aged 75+ widely. By the end of the summer, we’d offers all adult French wishing a vaccine to get it” he adds.
Vaccine production centers opening in France
Another announcement: the opening – at the end of February – of four vaccine production sites in France: “today, what limits us […] is the access to doses” the President first says. He goes on: “On a short-term, there is a calendar. Doses were to be delivered to a date but have been postponed by our suppliers. Everything is stabilizing. We wish to produce more. By the end of February, sites will manufacture the vaccine in France. There will be four of them”.
There is also anticipation to stop the evolution of variants: “We’ll live with the virus. We’ll have to respond to variants with vaccines. We shall plan what we should produce in the coming Fall and Winter”. To those telling him that intellectual property can cause a problem as to the production of vaccine, Macron also has an answer: “Our constraint is not vaccines’ intellectual property, but the ability to mass produce. We shall also think about emerging countries. It is crucial to organize the production of these new vaccines and enable global production for the poorest countries”.
Securing vaccine doses on a European level
Reproached to be slow, the vaccine campaign yet goes on as planned. This slowness – caused by the different vaccine delivery delays – makes many people dread resurgence of the virus on the long-term, and it could be even more difficult to get rid of it. The head of state intended to be reassuring on the matter: “We have secured 2.3 billion [doses of vaccines] on a European level” he explains.
The securing also includes the arrival of new vaccines, developed by other laboratories over the world. Among them, Russian vaccine Sputnik V that still causes doubts and that might arrive in France very soon. “For a vaccine to be approved, it shall seek marketing authorization” Macron first said, who yet tried to be optimistic as for its approval: “publications seem to show it is highly effective. European authorities will scientifically look at the vaccine without undue delay and depending on the outcome, will approve it. This is no political decision” he goes on.
What about a new lockdown?
Last but not least, as for the prospect of a new lockdown, the French President has been clear: decision will be made at the right time. “Our vaccine strategy does not enable to handle the epidemic situation” on a short-term basis, he says. He adds: “Today, we are experiencing a plateau. We have made decisions earlier than others, and our fellow citizens have made many efforts”. He concludes: “We check data every day. Part of the response is in our hands. I’ll try to make the most suitable decisions”.