The French Government has decided to step on the accelerator after criticism received in recent days for the slow start of the French vaccination campaign against covid-19 compared to other European countries.
“After the masks, tests and isolation, a new failure (of the vaccination campaign) would be terrible,” warned Bruno Retailleau, senator from the conservative Republican party. Socialist senator Rachid Temal denounced a triple failure: “A government incapable of working with transparency, the French delay in vaccination is real and impressive and anti-vaccination sentiment does not diminish.”
France began to vaccinate against the coronavirus on December 27, at the same time as several countries of the European Union, including Spain. The vaccines are being put, however, at a snail’s pace. So far only 332 French people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, compared to 78,000 people who have received a first dose in Germany and 8,300 in Italy, according to the latest figures available.
Faced with criticism, President Emmanuel Macron promised the French that “an unjustified slowness” of vaccines will be avoided. “Hope is there, in that vaccine that human ingenuity has achieved in a year. It was unthinkable. I will not let anyone play with the safety and good conditions in which vaccination should be done. I will not let undue slowness take place, “Macron said in his year-end address to the nation.
“The vaccination campaign is going to expand very soon,” announced the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, who recalled that vaccines are being given at different rates in Europe. “Some countries have vaccinated a lot, others, such as Belgium and the Netherlands, have not started,” the minister recalled on Twitter, who has promised that there will be transparency about vaccines.
The vaccination campaign started in France in nursing homes. Véran explained that some people in charge of these centers have asked them “a little more time to organize everything in good safety conditions” and others are ready and have begun to vaccinate.
Hardening of measures
Progressively and in order of priority, the rest of the population will be vaccinated. Paris has set itself the goal of vaccinating one million French people by the end of February and 15 million before the summer.
On the other hand, France begins the new year with a tightening of measures to fight the coronavirus in part of the national territory. But, for now, the French authorities rule out a third national or local confinement.
The French Executive advanced the curfew by two hours in 15 departments in the east and southeast of the country, where the virus circulates the most. Those 15 departments are located in the Great East, Burgundy-Franche-Comté and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions.
In the 15 affected departments there will be a curfew from tomorrow between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. In the rest of the country, the curfew is maintained between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., in force since last December 15.
The French Government keeps Culture confined. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced today that due to the health crisis “it will not be possible” to open on January 7, as originally planned, museums, cinemas, theaters and auditoriums in France. The cultural and leisure centers were forced to close their doors on October 30, coinciding with the start of the second lockdown, which ended on December 15.