It has been going on for almost seven days. The strategy of very small steps to vaccinate the French against Covid-19 arouses incomprehension, forcing the government to step up to defend its choices but also … to influence them. On Saturday, the Minister of Health announced that he had asked hospitals to open “without delay” vaccination for liberal health professionals over 50. Two days earlier, Olivier Véran had announced that hospital staff over 50 could finally be vaccinated as early as next week in parallel with elderly people residing in nursing homes, who should have been the only priority audience for this first phase.
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Saturday morning, it is therefore the president of the National Council of the Order of Physicians who was stung at the Hôtel-Dieu, in Paris. The day before, without waiting for the official deadlines, the vaccination kickoff for caregivers had been given at Ambroise-Paré hospital in Boulogne-Billancourt. But the battle of images struggles to eclipse that of numbers. As of Wednesday, before New Year’s Day, only 332 French people had been vaccinated against 130,000 Germans in the same interval.
“France is not late”
In Belgium, 700 people have been vaccinated since Monday, symbolically focusing on three establishments receiving the elderly. France has nearly 7,000. The Ministry of Health has indicated that it does not have vaccination data for the whole week. On the other hand, Public Health France has communicated the figures for the epidemic for the very last day of 2020: 133 additional deaths and 19,348 new cases of coronavirus. Very far from the 5,000 mark that the executive had set to reduce health measures.
“France is not late, it has chosen to use and prepare vaccines whose dissemination and sharing could be wider than current vaccines“, Saw fit to justify the Minister of Higher Education and Research, Frédérique Vidal, on France Culture. Which, without further explanation, would amount to saying that France is waiting for … a French vaccine rather than the American or British versions. President of the Grand Est region, particularly affected in the spring and again on the front line for two months, Jean Rottner expressed on Twitter his astonishment at the minister’s remarks.
I don’t understand this message
👉Either it is an inappropriate message of self-satisfaction because France is late
👉Either it implies a national preference. It would be a real health scandal. This strategy would be deadly and unacceptable https://t.co/WDiMFFU7BU
— Jean ROTTNER (@JeanROTTNER) January 2, 2021
No question of following in the footsteps of the United Kingdom
Voices are also being raised among politicians and personalities in the health world for the medico-administrative protocol surrounding the vaccination campaign to be reduced (appointment with their attending physician, withdrawal period, etc.). Without commenting on these questions, the Ministry of Health on the other hand let know on Saturday that there was no question for France to follow in the footsteps of the United Kingdom. Faced with the spread of the new variant of Covid-19, the British authorities have decided to space the two injections of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by three months (against three weeks) in order to be able to vaccinate the greatest number of Britons with one dose. .
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During the first week of vaccination, 60,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were delivered to France. “We will receive 500,000 next week, then 500,000 new doses each week, until the end of February”, one indicates to the Ministry of Health.