Make way for seniors: the vaccination against Covid-19 is extended on Monday to all people over the age of 75, against a background of fears of a shortage and criticism of the organization, while the virus has already caused the death of more than 70,000 people.
Until then reserved for certain priority groups including nursing home residents or caregivers, vaccination is now available to over 75s who do not live in retirement homes (5 million people). In addition, there are nearly 800,000 people with “high risk” pathologies (chronic renal failure, cancer under treatment, etc.).
In total, 6.4 million people are called upon to be vaccinated. But the Minister of Health Olivier Véran called for “patience”, while the doses of the precious serum only arrive gradually. He said that “more than a million vaccinations will be carried out” by the end of January, between 2.4 and 4 million by the end of February.
Visiting Lyon on Saturday, Jean Castex also recognized that those over 75 could not be vaccinated “in a few days”, and called for a vaccination “in peace”. The vaccinations “will be carried out gradually, as the 200 million doses of vaccine that France has ordered or pre-ordered will arrive on the national territory”, he added, ensuring that the challenge will be “met”.
In a country with vaccine-skeptical tendencies, an Ifop poll cited by Le Parisien on Sunday indicates that 54% of French people now want to be vaccinated. This is 15 points more than in December, notes the daily.
Appointment requests, opened at the end of last week were marked by an influx of requests, with more than a million appointments already made, while 833 centers were “open and accessible for reservation”, according to Olivier Véran. But not all the seniors were able to register, generating some tension.
In France under an advanced curfew at 6:00 p.m. since Saturday and for “at least 15 days” in order to limit social contact, the government is counting on these injections to stem the epidemic.
It does not show signs of weakness, with 2,766 patients in intensive care on Sunday and 136 new admissions in 24 hours. With 141 deaths recorded on Sunday, the total death toll reached 70,283, according to Public Health France.
And the fear of a rebound is growing with the threat of new variants – British and South African – more contagious. A case of the South African variant was detected in Reunion, announced the prefecture and the regional health agency on Sunday, while in Mayotte, 4 cases were identified.
– Probable “push” –
Arnaud Fontanet, epidemiologist member of the scientific council, warned Sunday that a “surge” of the epidemic was probable. “Unfortunately, compared to the variants, which are really a game changer for this epidemic, I have no rational argument to tell you that we are not going to experience a progression of the epidemic which could begin in March. -April, “he explained.
Prime Minister Jean Castex warned last week that a new containment could be decided “without delay” in the event of “severe epidemic degradation”.
After a difficult start, only 422,127 people had received the precious first injection on Sunday evening, the government continuing to be the target of criticism from the opposition and the medical world.
“At the current rate of delivery, it will take more than 4 and a half months to vaccinate only people over 75 years old,” notably mocked the mayors of Dijon and Besançon on Saturday.
The president of the National Rally Marine Le Pen denounced for her part on Sunday a government “unable to vaccinate those who wish”.
“There are not enough vaccines for everyone,” said Jacques Battistoni, president of the MG France general practitioner union in the Journal du dimanche. Predicting “a false start” on Monday, he criticizes the government for not launching a mass campaign, but “for organizing queues!”
Side doses, after cold sweats linked to the announcement of a drop in production “for three to four weeks”, the American group Pfizer, associated with the German laboratory BioNTech, announced on Saturday a “plan” to accelerate production and return the initial schedule for deliveries to the EU “from the week of January 25”.
Under curfew, the exemptions remain the same as before (business trips, medical appointments, compelling reasons …) but the businesses, already hard hit for nearly a year, must lower the curtain at 6:00 p.m.
A measure that will undoubtedly not have a “significant” impact on their turnover, said the Minister of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Alain Griset on Sunday, while acknowledging that this could be perceived as “a blow more “and” touch “the morale of entrepreneurs.