With 516 people vaccinated as of January 1st, according to the Ministry of Health, criticism does not wane against the government, which is accused of having implemented a strategy that is too slow and too cautious compared to some of its European neighbors. The executive has therefore decided to speed up the process: as of January 4, health care personnel over 50 years of age can be vaccinated. In addition, vaccination centers in town should open before the beginning of February.
A vaccination follow-up meeting was held on January 4th at the Elysée Palace. In addition to the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, the Head of Government, Jean Castex, and the ministers concerned attended. A health defense council and a council of ministers are scheduled to take place on Wednesday.
France must maintain its strategy of vaccinating as a priority the most vulnerable people.Dominique Le Guludec, President of the High Authority of Health (HAS)
As opposition attacks mount, the government announces measures to improve immunization. Emmanuel Macron himself yesterday strongly criticized the complexity of the procedure. “Now you are drastically simplifying, and we are really speeding up,” he said.
The controversy over the “slowness” of its vaccination campaign grows, and the executive is trying to regain control, with the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, in the front line in an attempt to counter the attacks launched by the opposition. On Tuesday, January 5, on RTL, Verán indicated his willingness to give a boost to the government’s strategy, with a watchword: “Amplify, accelerate and simplify.”
Mr. Véran announced that firefighters and home support workers aged 50 and over could now be vaccinated. This is a way to extend a device previously reserved for health workers over 50 years old, after initially offering it to elderly people living in Retirement Homes (Ehpad). An initial choice which explains the delay in ignition, according to the Minister of Health. “It was an initiation phase of vaccination that we knew would not be massive,” he said.
The vaccine developed by Moderna, whose storage method allows for simpler deployment logistics than that of Pfizer-BioNTech, could arrive this week, said HAS President Dominique Le Guludec. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to decide by Wednesday on the approval of this vaccine candidate in the European Union.
Mr. Verán announced that the start of the vaccination of over 75 year olds who are not residents of Ehpad would begin “before the end of January”. This represents nearly 5 million people. Another lever of acceleration: 100 hospitals will be equipped with vaccines this week throughout the country, compared to 27 today. At the same time, 100 vaccination centers will be opened in the city, then 300 within a few days, and from 500 to 600 at the end of January.