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Home Health & Fitness Covid: France 'pandering to anti-vaxxers' with slow vaccine rollout | France

Covid: France ‘pandering to anti-vaxxers’ with slow vaccine rollout | France


The #French government has been accused of pandering to anti-vaxxers after figures showed that only a few hundred people had received a jab several days after the country’s vaccine programme began.

#Health officials said #France is setting out for “a marathon, not a sprint” and that they are going slowly, in part, because of high levels of public scepticism about the vaccine.

#Only around 40% of people in #France have said they are willing to be vaccinated, according to a recent poll. The figure has dropped since #October, when just over half of #French people said they were happy to be vaccinated. #Willingness to have the vaccine is reportedly 77% in #Britain and 69% in the US.

#France started administering the #Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on #Sunday, beginning with staff and residents in care homes and those considered at risk of developing severe symptoms of the virus. #It is the only country insisting that those offered the vaccine give their written consent after being informed of possible contraindications.

#However, fewer than 100 people were vaccinated in the first three days. #By #Wednesday evening, only 332 people had received the vaccine, according to health ministry officials. The ministry has said the aim is to vaccinate 1 million elderly and at-risk people in #January, requiring more than 31,200 vaccinations every day.

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The health minister, #Olivier Véran, admitted that #France was vaccinating more slowly than other countries and suggested this was a deliberate policy to enable an information campaign rather than the result of a lack of vaccines or a logistical failure.

“We have the same number of vaccine doses as our #German neighbours, we have the same aims and we will have the same results,” Véran told #French television. “It’s taking a while to get off the ground … I don’t confuse speed with haste,” he added.

The president, #Emmanuel #Macron, and ministers have promised the vaccine will not be obligatory and officials have assured the public there will be no list compiled of those who refuse to have the #Covid-19 jab. #However, #Macron said people should be guided by “reason and science”. “The vaccine is not obligatory. #Have confidence in our scientists and doctors,” he said.

#In his new year address on #Thursday, #Macron vowed to avoid “unjustifiable delays” to vaccinations but also struck a defensive note, saying he would let “no one play with the safety” of the campaign.

#Axel #Kahn, a leading geneticist and head of the #National #League #Against #Cancer, told #Europe 1 radio that #France’s vaccine strategy was wrong. “It is not suited to a situation that is so dangerous,” he said.

#Philippe #Juvin, head of the casualty ward at the #Georges-Pompidou hospital in #Paris, agreed. “As an individual, I would like to be vaccinated to set an example and show people that we don’t die from the vaccine, we die from #Covid. #And when we don’t die, we can get severe forms of it that are very disabling,” #Juvin told CNews television.

#Opposition leaders said the slowness of the vaccination programme made #France the “dunce” of #Europe. #Damien #Abad, leader of the centre-right opposition #Les Républicains in the #Assemblée #Nationale, demanded an urgent meeting with the health minister.

#In a letter, other opposition critics wrote: “Mass vaccination is the ultimate means of seeing our country emerge from the damaging economic situation caused by the health crisis. #Yet #France is vaccinating 10,000 times slower than the UK.”

They added: “France cannot be one of the last countries to get vaccinated and yet that’s the picture we’re facing today.”

#Alain #Fischer, the government official overseeing #France’s vaccination programme, told #Europe 1 the country had chosen to prioritise the elderly and vulnerable, as opposed to health professionals, as in other countries. “There is no good or bad choice … These are small details that will seem ridiculous in two or three months,” he said.

#Critics say this hesitation is feeding conspiracy theories and anti-vaxxer sentiment. #Nathan #Peiffer-Smadja, an infection specialist at #Paris’s #Bichat hospital, said the scientific data was clear. “The vaccine is safe and efficient. #Like many of my colleagues, I think we should be giving the vaccines quicker in order to control the epidemic more rapidly. #At the rate we’re going, we’ll still be in lockdown in 2022,” he tweeted.

#France reported 26,457 new confirmed cases on #Wednesday in 24 hours, but attributed the rise to increased testing. There were 304 deaths in hospital. The number of positive tests remains low, at 2.9%.



[ source link ]
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/31/covid-france-pandering-to-anti-vaxxers-with-slow-vaccine-rollout

##Covid ##France #pandering #antivaxxers #slow #vaccine #rollout ##France

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