Over 800,000 people vaccinated against covid-19 in the UK, over two million in the US, 78,000 in Germany, 9,800 in Italy … and only 332 in France1. The slow start of the French vaccine campaign has aroused strong criticism and widespread misunderstanding.
If the countries leading vaccinations started their campaign much earlier, all the countries of the European Union began to vaccinate at the same time, on December 27. And yet, the gap with our neighbors is already considerable.
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The government is moving forward “very small steps“, it’s not “not adapted“to the situation, lamented the geneticist Axel Kahn. On the contrary, it would be necessary to show”enthusiasm“by speeding up vaccination, if not the 30 to 35% of”vaccine-skeptics“will be convinced that,”if we go so slowly “, it is “that there is a danger“, he said on Europe 1.
“We must protect the French people and vulnerable people. And vaccinate caregivers as a priority“, continues Professor Kahn, himself decided to be vaccinated”as soon as possible“.
Do not confuse “speed and precipitation”
“I reject this idea of taking small steps“, defended himself on LCI Professor Alain Fischer, appointed by the government to pilot its anti-covid-19 vaccine strategy. According to him, it is “ridiculous“to make comparisons between countries on”A few days“elapsed since the start of the campaign. This slow start, he explained, is due to the choice of vaccinate the most vulnerable in priority and the complexity of delivering doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, which must be stored at -80 degrees.
The Minister of Health Olivier Véran had “assumed“Tuesday, December 29 on France 2 this soft start, ensuring not to confuse “speed and precipitation“. The government favors the”pedagogy“, he explained:”we collect people’s consent before they are vaccinated. I think it’s a guarantee of trust“.
One million vaccinated by the end of February
Indeed, France made choices likely to slow down the campaign. The collection of consent is mandatory, like the pre-vaccination consultation which must take place at the doctor’s office within five days of vaccination.
Likewise, unlike Germany, France has chosen “to move the vaccine to people in retirement homes and not to ask people in retirement homes to travel“, further justified the spokesman of the government, Gabriel Attal.
Finally, “what matters is that by January we will have caught up with the gap vis-à-vis everyone“, assured Olivier Véran. The objective of 700,000 people vaccinated in nursing homes by early February and a million people at risk by the end of February will be met, assures the government.
1 According to the site Vaccine Tracker, figure of December 30, 2020 at 8:30 p.m.