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COVID-19 VACCINES

Covid vaccines highly effective against Delta variant, French study shows

Vaccination is highly effective at preventing severe cases of Covid-19, even against the Delta variant, a vast study in France has shown.

Vaccination provides 90 percent protection against severe forms of Covid, a French study has shown.
Vaccination provides 90 percent protection against severe forms of Covid, a French study has shown. Photo: Nicolas TUCAT / AFP.

The research published on Monday – focusing on prevention of severe Covid and death, not infection – looked at 22 million people over 50 and found those who had received jabs were 90 percent less likely to be hospitalised or die.

The results confirm observations from the US, the UK and Israel, but researchers say it is the largest study of its kind so far.

Looking at data collected starting in December 2020, when France launched its jab campaign, the researchers compared the outcomes of 11 million vaccinated people with 11 million unvaccinated subjects.

They formed pairs matching an unvaccinated individual with a vaccinated counterpart from the same region and of the same age and sex, tracking them from the date of the vaccinated person’s second jab to July 20th.

READ ALSO Who gets a Covid vaccine booster shot in France

Starting 14 days after a second dose, a vaccinated subjects’ risk of severe Covid was reduced by 90 percent, according to the research conducted by Epi-Phare, an independent medicines safety research group that works closes with the French government.

Vaccination appears to be nearly as effective against the Delta variant, with 84 percent protection for people 75 and older and 92 percent for people 50-75.

That estimate, however, is only based on a month of data, since the variant became dominant in France only in June.

“The study should be followed up to include results from August and September,” epidemiologist Mahmoud Zureik, the head of Epi-Phare, told AFP.

The study covers vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna and AstraZeneca jabs, but not Jannsen which was authorised much later and is far less widely used in France.

The results also suggest that over the period of study – up to five months – vaccination protection against severe Covid did not diminish.

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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.

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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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