Until now, French authorities gave priority to people over 50, people in “priority professions” or younger adults with underlying health problems.
So far, 25.4 million people have received a first shot of a vaccine, representing about 38% of the population and nearly one in two adults. Nearly 12 million have received the two shots required for full protection.
As the French savour a degree of freedom following the reopening of cafes, restaurants and museums two weeks ago, initially high levels of vaccine scepticism have begun to subside.
A Cevipof poll conducted in early May showed that 65% of adults planned to get vaccinated, up from 48% in February.
“I am fully convinced that we are going to see a lot of people getting vaccinated,” Prof Alain Fischer, the immunologist who heads the government’s vaccination advisory board, said today, adding that immunisation was the key to “getting back an increasingly normal life.”
With 28 million adults eligible for a first shot, but only around half a million appointments available each day, many people have opted to travel outside their neighbourhood or even their region to secure highly coveted Pfizer or Moderna shots.
Vaccinations with the AstraZeneca and Janssen jabs are open only to those aged 55, after cases of potentially deadly blood clots in a very small number of younger people vaccinated.
The government is hoping that the 76.7m vaccines it is expecting to receive in June will help it meet demand.
So far the virus has claimed 109,431 lives in France.