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COVID-19 VACCINES

France to offer Covid booster shots to elderly, vulnerable from September

France will offer Covid booster shots to the elderly and vulnerable from September, joining a growing list of countries offering third vaccine shots to fight new virus variants, President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday.

France to offer Covid booster shots to elderly, vulnerable from September
A nurse administers a vaccine at an EHPAD in Bobigny. Photo: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP.

“Yes, we will probably need a third dose, not for everyone straight away but at any rate for the elderly and the most vulnerable,” Macron said in the latest in his series of explanatory videos on the government’s vaccination strategy.

He confirmed that the booster shots would be available from September.

Last month he had already revealed plans for a booster campaign, saying it would target those who had been the first to get a jab earlier this year – mostly people over 80 or with serious health conditions.

Currently, third vaccine shots are only available to people with weakened immune systems.

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

Macron’s statement comes a day after the World Health Organization called on all nations to halt booster shots until at least the end of September to help ease the drastic inequity in dose distribution between rich and poor nations.

Israel has already begun administering booster shots to over-60s and Germany last week said it too would start offering top-up jabs from September.

France’s health ministry said on Tuesday that the exact list of those who would be eligible for a booster shot would be decided next week.

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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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