Paris, France: France, a week ahead of Germany, made Covid-19 vaccines available to all adults on Monday, as Europe raced to avoid another wave of illness caused by new virus types.
So far, 25.4 million people have got their first immunization shot, accounting for around 38% of the population and roughly one in every two adults.
Prioritization was formerly given to those over 50, workers in high-risk occupations, and younger folks with underlying health issues.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government is eager to expand vaccine coverage as the country recovers from a terrible third wave of illness. This will help to slow the spread of variations that could cause new disasters.
Both France and Germany have implemented fresh limits on travel from the United Kingdom in the last week, in an effort to stem the spread of the Indian variety blamed for a spike in cases in sections of the country.
Beginning Monday, British and other non-EU citizens traveling from the UK to France must provide a “compelling” cause for entering the country, a major blow to the French tourism industry.
In the meanwhile, Germany has placed a two-week quarantine on visitors arriving from the United Kingdom.
As the French regain a sense of freedom with the reopening of cafés, restaurants, and museums two weeks ago, high levels of vaccine apprehension have begun to fade.
In an early May Cevipof study, 65 percent of adults said they planned to get vaccinated, up from 48 percent in February.
“I am fully convinced that we are going to see a lot of people getting vaccinated,” Professor Alain Fischer, the immunologist who heads the government’s vaccination advisory board, said Monday.
The government expects to receive 76.7 million immunizations in June, which it hopes will help it satisfy demand.
Due to the limited number of appointments available each day (approximately 500,000), many people are forced to drive outside of their town or even area in order to get the highly sought-after Pfizer or Moderna shots.
After rare occurrences of catastrophic blood clots in a very small number of younger persons vaccinated, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs, which have failed to find takers, are only offered to those aged 55.
After a sluggish start to its immunization campaign in January, when it was dubbed one of Europe’s laggards, France is hoping to catch up with its neighbors.
Britain, which has led the European vaccine race, has administered the first dose to more than 39 million individuals, with another 25 million receiving a second dose.
Germany, which, like France, was late to the game, has recently stepped up its immunization campaign.
In Europe’s most populous country, over 49 million vaccination doses had been provided.
When immunizations are made available to all Germans aged 16 and up on June 7, that number is projected to skyrocket.
Coronavirus vaccines will also be administered to youngsters above the age of 12 in Germany, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
A third month-long lockdown in France, which ended in April, is credited with containing a third wave of infections this spring, which erupted partially as a result of the spread of the UK strain.
At the weekend, the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care dropped to under 3,000, the lowest level since January.
The circumstance encouraged the administration, which on May 19 reopened sidewalk cafés and restaurants, as well as museums, cinemas, theatres, and non-essential shops, after a seven-month closure.
On June 9, cafes and restaurants will be allowed to serve customers indoors, and a statewide curfew of 9:00 p.m. will be moved back to 11:00 p.m.
“If the fall-off continues between now and June 9… we will have a quiet summer,” Arnaud Fontanet, an epidemiologist at the Institut Pasteur in Paris told the Journal du Dimanche weekly.
The coronavirus has claimed the lives of 109,431 people in France thus far.
COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF FRANCE 24 VIA TWITTER