France: Expert criticises Macron’s vaccine response
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Political leaders have warned hundreds of doses are going unused since reports of people suffering blood clots after receiving it. Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart warned as a “wave of panic” surrounding the Oxford-produced immunisation. She said: “It’s more than a wave of panic. It’s been going on for a week, and Friday was the final blow.
“There really has to be a national campaign to explain that this vaccine as no more negative consequences than the one from Pfizer or Moderna.”
Dr Thierry Mraovic, a director at a vaccination centre in Gravelines, said 600 doses of the AstraZeneca jab had been returned to the manufacturer.
He hit out at France’s restrictions to only use the shop in people over 55 because of the minuscule risk of blood clots appear to have hit younger patients.
French interior minister Gerald Darmanin said: “We have to pay attention to the fears of the French.”
Sources close to President Emmanuel Macron warned the government expected difficulties in convincing the “last 10 percent” to receive the vaccine.
The adviser said: “When the last reluctant people see their friends getting together in restaurants and shows again thanks to the vaccine certificate, they will go and get a jab.”
So far, France has administered 18 doses per 100 people, around a third of what Britain has managed.
Across the country coronavirus infections and hospitalisations continue to rise despite it being plunged into a third national lockdown.
Last week Mr Macron apologised for the France’s sluggish vaccination drive as he claimed the third wave of cases had forced him to extend resections and row back on a pledge to keep schools open.
Under the measures, people are allowed to leave their homes for leisure but within a six-mile radius and cannot meet others.
Non-essential shops have also been ordered to close their doors across the country.
It comes as news emerged that the EU failed to hit its target for vaccinating the bloc’s top priority groups.
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Official data shows that member states fell far below their goal to administer Covid immunisations to at least 80 percent of the elderly and healthcare workers.
The average vaccination rate for those aged 80 and above was almost 57 percent, where as just 30 percent had received two doses, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
And as of April 2, just 63 percent of healthcare workers across the bloc had received just one dose of a life-saving coronavirus vaccine.
In contrast, the UK managed to hit its goal for inoculating the four most at risk groups in February – care home residents, carers, followed by people over the age of 70, those considered clinically extremely vulnerable and frontline health and social care staff.
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With the Continent gripped by a third wave of infections, the EU is expected to hit yet more vaccination targets in the coming months.
Leaked official estimations suggest only 55 percent of the EU population will have received a jab by the end of June.
France is expected to hit that target, according to a diplomatic document circulated around EU capitals.
The bloc is hoping to have offered a jab to 70 percent of its adult population by mid September.
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