“We aim to have begun to vaccinate by Monday,” Health Minister Olivier Véran told Europe 1, as the European Medicines Agency confirmed on Monday that it had approved the vaccine.
Elderly people in Ehpad (nursing homes) will be first in line to get the jab in France, along with Ehpad staff.
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Following the recent discovery of the new Covid-19 strain in the UK
that the British government has said could be up to 70 percent more contagious, European countries are eager to speedily begin vaccinating their populations in an attempt to prevent the virus from getting out of control once again.
“We are not rushing,” Véran said, stressing the early phase of the vaccine campaign would be gradual and small-scale, aiming to create confidence in the vaccine.
“We want to organise things properly, with pre-vaccine consultations, with consent. . . so, yes, this is a 'French' vaccination strategy, but I say that in the most positive sense possible,” the health minister said.
France has one of the highest levels of vaccine-scepticism in the world and polls have shown that some 40-50 percent are not certain that they will get the Covid-19 vaccine, which the government has decided not to make compulsory.
France has ordered 200 million doses of the vaccine, enough to inoculate 100 million people – more than its population of nearly 70 million.