MAP: Which parts of France lag behind for Covid vaccinations?

Over half of people living in France are now fully vaccinated, but behind the promising figures are stark geographical inequalities. We take a look at the parts of France which are currently struggling to keep up.

MAP: Which parts of France lag behind for Covid vaccinations?
A man receives a vaccine dose in Villetaneuse, a northern suburb of Paris. Photo: Alain JOCARD / AFP.

France’s Health Ministry announced on July 27th that over 50 percent of residents in France had been vaccinated. As of August 1st, more than 35.4 million people were fully vaccinated. It’s far from the 90 percent coverage experts now believe is necessary to achieve herd immunity, but it’s a significant milestone.

42.5 million people have received at least one dose – boosted by Macron’s July 12th announcement that the health pass would be required for many aspects of daily life, after which millions of people booked vaccine appointments.

Now, new figures from Assurance Maladie have shone a light on significant disparities in vaccination rates across France. The statistics are broken down into regions and départements.

Source: Ameli. Data from July 25th 2021.

Of the 96 départements which make up metropolitan France, Seine-Saint-Denis to the north of Paris has the lowest rate of vaccination - only 37.9 percent of people there are fully jabbed.

Seine-Saint-Denis also happens the be the mainland département with the worst poverty rates, according to the Observatoire des inégalités organisation.

READ ALSO How serious will France’s fourth wave of Covid be, according to experts?

The second départment with the smallest proportion of inhabitants who are fully vaccinated is Haute-Corse, the northern half of the Mediterranean island of Corsica, with 42.1 percent. Haute-Corse is also the metropolitan département with the second highest poverty rate, behind Seine-Saint-Denis.

According to figures crunched by franceinfo, variations depending on income level are present all across France. They are most pronounced in Ile-de-France, where only 25 percent of people in the poorest 10 percent of communes are fully vaccinated.

In a separate set of statistics, as seen in the tweet below, there is a clear correlation between average revenues in different parts of the Paris area (left) and vaccination rates (right).

Four of the next five départements with the lowest rates of vaccination or located in the south-east of France.

"In the south-east, a lot of people vote for the greens and the Rassemblement national, two ends of the political spectrum which are historically purveyors of anti-vax sentiment, with environmentalists on one side and nationalists on the other," Lucie Guimier, whose thesis looked at the geopolitics surrounding vaccine hesitancy, told franceinfo.

"The Rassemblement national voters in Paca (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) are largely composed of professionals, who care a lot about individual freedoms, notably in terms of health."

On the other end of the spectrum, Paris is leading the way having vaccinated 58.5 percent of its population, followed by Landes (57.7 percent) and Manche (56.3 percent).

Covid cases are also on the rise in a number of départements with low vaccination rates - Haute-Corse currently has the highest incidence rate in metropolitan France with 847 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and south-eastern France is also suffering from high infection rates. However, these are also popular destinations for tourists, and the virus is also spreading in highly-vaccinated areas like Landes and Paris.

Here are the ten metropolitan departments with the smallest proportion of fully-vaccinated inhabitants.

1. Seine-Saint-Denis - 37.9%

2. Haute-Corse - 42.1%

3. Alpes-de-Haute-Provence - 42.4%

4. Haute-Savoie - 43%

5. Val-d'Oise - 44.1%

6. Bouches-du-Rhône - 44.1%

7. Vaucluse - 44.4%

8. Corse-du-Sud - 45%

9. Tarn-et-Garonne - 45.6%

10. Haut-Rhin 46%

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France approves new vaccines for Covid Omicron sub-variants

France's health authority said Tuesday it had approved three new vaccines against the prevalent Omicron sub-variants of the Covid-19 virus, in a bid to prevent a jump in infections as colder weather approaches.

France approves new vaccines for Covid Omicron sub-variants

The so-called “bivalent: shots, approved by the European Medicines Agency earlier this month, target the BA.1, BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants, now responsible for the bulk of new cases since the outbreak began worldwide in early 2020.

French authorities are urging at-risk patients — including those over 60 or adults with pre-existing conditions — to get the bivalent vaccines as part of its booster campaign.

“The number of infections has again started rising in the past few days,” the HAS health authority said, noting that the BA.5 sub-variant was causing the most new cases.

The new vaccine targeting the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 types is made by Pfizer and BioNTech, while jabs from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are for BA.1.