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VACCINE

Disneyland Paris to open up as a vaccine centre

Disneyland Paris, normally Europe's biggest tourist attraction, will from Saturday host a mass Covid vaccination site at its convention centre as France seeks to speed up its inoculation drive, officials said on Wednesday.

Disneyland Paris to open up as a vaccine centre
There will be magic of a different kind in the kingdom. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The amusement park east of the capital has been closed since October 30th, when non-essential businesses were ordered to close amid a surge in infections.

It had originally planned to re-admit visitors on April 2nd, but worsening conditions forced it to postpone.

The vaccination site will be housed outside the amusement park proper at its Newport Bay Club, a convention centre near its hotel complex.

It will be run by local authorities and the regional ARS health service, and will be open on weekends only, whereas other French vaccination sites often close on Sunday.

The goal for the centre is to give injections to at least 1,000 people a day, as France aims to get at least one dose to 20 million people by mid-May.

As of Tuesday, France had administered at least one dose to nearly 12.8 million people, or 19 percent of its population, according to health ministry data.

“Disneyland Paris is proud to help support the authorities… to administer vaccines,” the park’s vice president of operations, Eric Marion, said in a statement.

The global Disney group has announced 32,000 job cuts at its theme park activities worldwide by the end of the first quarter, mostly in the United States, because of the impact of the coronavirus.

The Disneyland Park in California is set to reopen on April 30th after more than a year of closure.

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HEALTH

Reader Question: Can I get a third Covid booster shot in France?

As France launches its autumn vaccine campaign, almost half of those eligible for the second booster jab in France have already received it. This has left some wondering whether they could qualify for a third booster, using the new dual-strain vaccines.

Reader Question: Can I get a third Covid booster shot in France?

Question: I’m in my 70s and I had my second booster back in the summer but now I see that the new dual-strain vaccines are available – should I be getting an extra booster with the new type of vaccine?

French health authorities launched the autumn booster campaign on October 3rd includes newly authorised dual-strain vaccines – such as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to BA.1, the Moderna vaccine adapted to BA.1, and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to BA.4/5 – which are designed to combat the Omicron variant.

It will be followed by the seasonal flu vaccination campaign in mid October.

READ MORE: When, where and how to get flu shots and Covid boosters this autumn in France

In France, about 6.3 million people have received a second booster dose, “or 41 percent of the eligible population,” said the Directorate General of Health (DGS) to Ouest France.

Currently only those in high risk groups are eligible for a second booster shot, including pregnant women, the elderly those with medical conditions or carers – find the full list here.

As almost half of the eligible population have already received a fourth vaccine, many are wondering whether they will be eligible for a fifth (or third booster) in order to access the new dual-strain vaccine.  

According to Virginie, a representative from HAS – France’s health authority – the organisation “no longer thinks in terms of doses for high-risk people and immunocompromised patients.”

Specifically, the HAS recommends that a new injection be given – and if possible one of the dual-strain vaccines – “regardless of the number of injections received up to now”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Who qualifies for a second Covid vaccine booster in France?

However, French health authorities specified that the additional booster should “respect the minimum recommended time between two doses.”

“This depends based on your profile – for people aged 80 and over, residents of nursing homes or long-term care units (USLD) and those who are immunocompromised, the wait-time is three months between jabs. For the others, the delay is set at six months.”

For those who have already been infected by Covid-19, the HAS recommends that if you are eligible for a second (or third booster) that the additional dose “is still recommended, with a minimum delay of three months after infection.”

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