France launches vaccination among people over 75
France started its campaign to vaccinate people over 75 against the coronavirus on Monday, as its death toll rose past 70,000 at the weekend.
There is increasing concern that delays in delivering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine might hinder the drive to vaccinate in France and beyond.
French authorities have already been criticised for the country’s slow pace in delivering shots, especially compared to Britain, Germany and Italy.
Local authorities said that initially 10,000 doses would be administered per week in Paris, and that at this pace several months would be needed to vaccinate the 175,000 Parisians that make up the target group.
“As we speak we are fully booked throughout January and we are already taking appointments for February so there is approximately a month to wait,” said Ariel Weil, mayor of the 3rd arrondissement of Paris.
Officials have been worried over polls showing that the majority of French people are wary of vaccines against COVID 19, so they may have been surprised by the number of people who have signed for shots, reserved for those 75 and older or with a high health risk.
The health agency had reported more than 500,000 scheduled for the first of two shots until February 14, saturating the system.
An internet site set up as one means to make appointments was receiving up to 20,000 connections a minute, the agency said.
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