President Emmanuem Macron announced the acceleration of the programme last week while on a visit to a ‘vaccinedrome’ in Paris.
He announced that all over 50s will be eligible for the vaccine from Monday, May 10th (five days earlier than planned) and said that from Wednesday, May 12th, any appointment that was available on booking platforms such as Doctolib for the following day can be booked by any adult, in order to limit wasted doses and unfilled appointments.
His announcement came shortly after news that the vaccination programme was opened up to 16 and 17-year-olds with serious illnesses.
In a document published on Thursday by the Direction Générale de la Santé, vaccination is opened up immediately to 16 and 17-year-olds suffering from serious illnesses that put them at high risk of developing the most serious forms of Covid, such as transplant patients.
The document stated that they can be vaccinated in a vaccine centre, using the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.
On Thursday Macron also said he was “absolutely in favour” of a global waiver on patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines, adding his voice to a campaign backed by US President Joe Biden.
Macron’s statement marked a shift for France, which had previously opposed such a move as likely to discourage innovation and argued patents should only be waived as a last resort.
At the same time, the government is also outlining plans for the summer in order to reach its goal of offering a vaccine to all adults who want one by the end of the summer.
“It will be necessary to maintain the effort on vaccination,” a health ministry source told the website of French broadcaster BFM on Wednesday.
The government might increase the number of doses sent to coastal towns and cities, by the mountains and other areas that generally host tourists in the summer, according to the BFM source.
The plan is still in the works and nothing set in stone yet.
France aims to have 20 million first doses injected by mid-May, 30 million by mid-June and all adults who want one given a vaccine by the end of the summer.
This would necessitate keeping daily vaccination rates high during the month of August, when traditionally most public administration in France either closes or operates on a reduced schedule.
One in four people had on Wednesday received their first dose of the anti-Covid vaccine (31.9 percent of adults), as the public health agency reported a total injection tally of 16.763.053 first doses.
The government looks to further accelerate the vaccination campaign as it eases Covid-restrictions by opening up the scheme to all over-50s in mid-May, before making it accessible to all adults on June 15th.
Vaccination is currently open to all over 55s, and people under 55 who suffer from medical conditions including diabetes, hypertension or a BMI of 30 or above.