Daily Management Review

France agrees to vaccination, but vaccines are scarce


A curfew has been in imposed in France since Saturday. Due to the emergence of new, more dangerous COVID-19 variant, internal and external borders are closed. Mass vaccination remains the government's main hope.

No matter what the government is trying to do, the incidence rate is rising - France has counted 70,000 deaths since the beginning of the epidemic, and the number of infections per day has exceeded 20,000. For a month, the government has been persuading fellow citizens that vaccination will save the situation. 

The prime minister and the health minister sounded optimistic as they announced a new phase of the fight - vaccinating people over 75, of whom there are about 5 million in France - and inviting them to sign up for vaccinations at one of the centers that were opening all over France. This could be done by telephone or on special websites.

And that's when it became clear that there was a catastrophic shortage of vaccines for the growing number of people who wanted them.

As of Saturday, only 413,046 of France's 67 million people had been vaccinated. Many - politicians and philistines alike – were disappointed. Authorities, however, are persuading citizens to be patient. "Vaccinations will be carried out calmly and on a first-come, first-served basis," said Prime Minister Jean Castex in Lyon, "They will take place as the 200 million doses ordered by France arrive on national territory.

However, the prime minister did not say when those millions would arrive. There's a problem with that. The makers of Europe's main vaccine, Pfizer/BioNTech, have just announced imminent delays in deliveries and that the European plant, located in Belgium, will not be able to produce the contracted amount of the drug until February. 

They attribute this to the need to modernize production and promise that they will catch up starting in February, but this is another blow to an already hanging by a thread. Moderna vaccine alternatives are still scarce, and health authorities are in no hurry to approve AstraZeneca and CuroVac.

source: lemonde.fr