France to start vaccinating 12-18 year-olds in June

France will start offering Covid-19 vaccines to everyone between 12 and 18 on June 15th, President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday.

France to start vaccinating 12-18 year-olds in June
Photo: Pascal Pochard Casablanca/AFP

During a visit to the village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in southern France, Macron also noted that 50 percent of French adults have now received at least one Covid vaccine jab, calling it “truly a turning point” in the country’s inoculation drive.

Vaccines were opened up to all over 18s on May 31st, several weeks ahead of schedule.

With the country just beginning to bounce back from a severe third wave of infections, Macron’s government is keen to quickly expand the vaccine coverage to slow the spread of variants that could spell fresh disaster.

The European Medicines Agency last week approved the Pfizer vaccine – which makes up the vast majority of France’s vaccine programme – for children aged 12-16. It was already approved for over 16s.

The decision to vaccinate teens comes as several countries debate whether doses should be reserved first for adults who are more vulnerable to the virus, or start inoculating youths in a bid to protect more of the population sooner.

But Macron urged people to remain “extremely careful and vigilant,” and said wearing face masks outdoors would still be required in several regions for the time being.

IN NUMBERS Is the Covid situation in France really under control?

The 43-year-old president, who himself contracted Covid last December, announced on Monday that he and his wife had also received the jab.

The country is emerging from its third nationwide lockdown, with restaurants and cafés now allowed to serve clients outside, and indoor dining scheduled to start June 9th.

Pressure on hospitals has eased, with the number of Covid patients in intensive care falling steadily in recent weeks, with 2,825 serious cases as of Tuesday, down from around 6,000 in April.

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France declares epidemic as flu cases soar

The French health authority has declared a flu epidemic, while the country also faces a new wave of Covid cases and bronchitis is affecting young children.

France declares epidemic as flu cases soar

Santé publique France made the declaration of an epidemic on Wednesday, adding that three deaths have been recorded due to flu, while 20 patients are in intensive care.

With Covid-19 and bronchitis cases also currently high, health experts have urged people to get vaccinated – especially those over 65. “It is important for people at risk to be vaccinated against flu without delay,” insisted SantĂ© publique France.

READ ALSO Flu vaccine opens to all adults in France: What you need to know

Cases have hit full epidemic levels in Brittany and Normandy, while the virus is in pre-epidemic phase in Auvergne-RhĂ´ne-Alpes, Grand Est, Provence-Alpes-CĂ´te d’Azur, Centre-Val de Loire, Hauts-de-France and ĂŽle-de-France, with an increasing number of people heading to hospitals’ emergency departments with influenza-like illness. It is expected to cross over to epidemic levels in the coming days and weeks.

READ ALSO French PM calls on commuters to wear masks as Covid cases rise

It has already hit French overseas territories including Martinique, Mayotte and Reunion.

Flu has hit epidemic levels much earlier than last season, when it did not peak until early Spring.