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HEALTH

Quarter of vaccine centres in Paris region to close over summer holidays

A quarter of Covid-19 vaccination sites in the Paris region will close during July and August, the regional health authority told AFP on Tuesday, anticipating a fall in demand as Parisians head off on holiday.

Quarter of vaccine centres in Paris region to close over summer holidays
The Stade de France vaccination centre will remain open this summer. Photo: Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

All the sites in Seine-Saint-Denis are set to remain open, including the large vaccinodrome at the Stade de France, according to France Info but other sites in the Île-de-France region will close

All of France’s regional health authorities have been told to prepare a “continuity plan”, in consultation with local mayors and prefects, to ensure vaccinations continue throughout the summer period, France Info reported.

Vaccination rates could fall as both patients and health workers go on holiday, and local officials may want to use venues for other purposes.

France’s next vaccine target was to give 40 million people at least one dose by July 15th, with all adults having been offered a vaccine by the end of the summer.

However there are fears that the traditional French long summer holiday – which sees many cities virtually empty in August – will hamper this target.

In a bid to counter this, the government has increased flexibility around the second vaccine dose, which can now be booked between three and seven weeks after the first, with the health minister appealing to people to fit in their jabs around their holidays.

In Île-de-France, vaccination rates are set to continue at 82 percent capacity, with 77 percent of centres remaining open, according to the Agence Régionale de Santé.

Vaccinations capacity will be maintained in certain départments at a higher rate than others, as per France Info – while all centres in Seine-Saint-Denis will continue to administer jabs, 85 percent of sites in Val-de-Marne and Val-d’Oise will remain open, 73 percent in Essonne, 70 percent in Paris, 62 percent in Hauts-de-Seine, and only 42 percent in Yvelines.

Health authorities added that they will continue with campaigns to reach out to certain groups including students and pregnant women and vulnerable populations such as the homeless and migrant workers. Staff will also be operating increased testing centres, including a highway service stations, campsites and leisure centres.

On Monday, health minister Olivier Véran again encouraged people to get their jabs before the summer break – 300,000 slots were still available across the country for the coming week, he said on Twitter.

While the government has advised people to book their second jab in the same vaccination centre as their first dose if possible, vaccine deliveries could be stepped up in holiday destinations this summer.

“We must anticipate, in our fellow citizens’ holiday destinations, the possibility of reinforcing opportunities to vaccinate them, notably but not only in terms of second doses,” Prime Minister Jean Castex told parliament in May.

All adults, as well as children from the age of 12, are currently eligible to receive a Covid vaccine in France.

READ ALSO How to book a Covid vaccine in France 

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COVID-19 VACCINES

More than 100,000 protest Macron’s plan to ‘piss off the unvaccinated’

More than 100,000 people across France protested on Saturday over what they say are government plans to further restrict the rights of the unvaccinated.

More than 100,000 protest Macron's plan to 'piss off the unvaccinated'
Demonstrators hold a banner reading " The youth piss off the vaccine front " during a protest against the health pass on Saturday. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP

The protest came only days after French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to “piss off” those refusing the jab.

The turnout was four times higher than the numbers who answered the December 18 call to protest, when 25,500 people marched across the country, according to government estimates.

The protests oppose a planned law that will require individuals to prove they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus before they can eat out, travel on inter-city trains or attend cultural events.

On Thursday, France’s lower house of parliament passed the controversial bill in a first reading. The government has said it expects the new requirements to be implemented by January 15, although lawmakers in the Senate could now delay the process.

About 18,000 protesters gathered in Paris. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP

Interior ministry officials said 105,200 people participated in Saturday’s protests across France, 18,000 of them in the capital Paris, where police reported 10 arrests and three officers slightly injured. Elsewhere there were 24 arrests and seven police officers lightly injured according to the ministry.

Among the larger demonstrations, around 6,000 demonstrators turned out in Toulon, while in Montpellier police used teargas during clashes with protesters.

READ ALSO: 

France recorded 303,669 new coronavirus cases on Saturday amid mounting pressure on hospitals.

The Paris protesters, many of them unmasked, braved the cold and rain brandishing placards emblazoned with the word “truth” and “No to vaccine passes”.

Others took aim at Macron, using the same coarse language he employed in his attack on people holding out against vaccination earlier in the week.

Macron said Friday that he fully stands by controversial remarks he made on Tuesday, when he vowed to “piss off” people not vaccinated against Covid-19 until they accept shots.

The earthy language and uncompromising approach provoked uproar in French media and from opponents.

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