As a survey emerges showing France is at the very bottom of the European countries in terms of how many vaccines given, Emmanuel Macron gave a surprise TV interview last evening in which he said that everyone who wanted a vaccine would have one by the end of the summer.
He insisted that France was inoculating “at the same rhythm as her “German and other European neighbours” and that it is sticking to the vaccination programme outlined at the very beginning.
He said France’s vaccine roll-out “may seem too slow” when compared with countries that had “made other bets” but added “I defend the strategy we have adopted with Germany, with the European Union”.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, approved by the European Medical Agency, was approved by France’s Medical Agency on Tuesday, with a recommendation that it only be used on those under 65 years old.
There will be four new vaccine production sites in France – one in the Bordeaux region and three in the north west.
The president said a new lockdown wasn’t on the immediate agenda but, “we must never say never” and there would be a lockdown if the situation demanded.
“Protection measures, testing, isolating, declaring contact cases and being collectively responsible as the French have been for several weeks,” is the solution to avoid a lockdown, he suggested.
“We will continue to manage this epidemic in this way with one aim which is to protect the most weak and to be able to protect as best possible our youth who need to study and go to school, and to have a country that is as open as possible”.
He said he was following the day to day Covid-19 situation “very closely”.
Macron told TF1 television that 80% of care and nursing home residents – around 500,000 people – would be vaccinated with two doses by early March.
It is thought the new vaccine production in France will involve the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and will be bottling and packaging of doses for distribution.
Le Figaro is reporting that Ursula von der Leyen is considering using the Russian and Chinese vaccines in Europe.
Macron said “As soon as a request for authorisation is submitted by the producer…the European and national authorities will scientifically look at the vaccine in an independent manner and, depending on the results, will approve or not.”