France defends its delayed vaccine development when doses are not used

On Tuesday, French Health Minister Olivier Véran defended the country’s staggered expansion of Covid-19 vaccines in the coming weeks, despite calls to make more adults eligible immediately as certain doses are not used.

At present, people aged 55 and older can get jerks, but several vaccination centers have reported a shortage of candidates and surplus bottles in recent weeks.

This has led some local officials to quietly offer vaccines to all adults in an attempt to speed up vaccination.

Since last weekend, authorities have also allowed people between the ages of 18 and 50 with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or obesity to report without having to present a doctor’s certificate or doctor’s prescription.

It raised the prospect that healthy adults would require fake diseases to get the vaccine faster, but Véran said the policy was simply “common sense.”

“I trust the French,” Véran told Europe 1 radio. “There may be some attempts to circumvent the rules but it will be in the margins.”

French vaccine stocks will increase to 4.5 million per week in May and to 6.9 million per week in June, as the government gradually facilitates a third lock-in to curb a new increase in infection.

Some health experts have urged officials to offer vaccines to anyone who wants them, as surveys suggest that millions of French people may refuse in principle or because of security fears.

About 16.1 million people have received at least one dose, which corresponds to 24 percent of the population, according to information from the Ministry of Health.

President Emmanuel Macron said last week that adults over 50 would be eligible from May 15, and all adults could sign up from June 15.

Hospitals are still under severe strain with more than 5,600 Covid patients in intensive care and over 300 deaths were reported daily.

However, the rate of infection has decreased, with the number of new daily cases averaging 28,000 last week, a decrease from 36,000 the previous week.

(AFP)