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4 Jan, 2021 11:59

France defends Covid-19 jab campaign as critics blast health authorities for only vaccinating 516 people in first week

France defends Covid-19 jab campaign as critics blast health authorities for only vaccinating 516 people in first week

The head of the French health authority has justified their slow progress in immunizing people against Covid-19 and suggested that there are still things we don’t know about the Pfizer vaccine.

Speaking on Monday, Dominique Le Guludec, president of the High Authority of Health (HAS), admitted that the vaccination campaign had started too slowly but defended her strategy.

The medical chief said that they didn’t know if the jab would stop transmission and therefore the program must be focused on those who are at most risk.

“Vaccinating people who are not at risk, the interest is to stop transmission. However, today, we do not have these data, we do not know absolutely if this vaccine protects against being contagious,” Le Guludec told BFMTV.

Le Guludec’s explanation is unlikely to win over the HAS’s critics after it was revealed that France has only immunized 516 people in the first week of inoculations.

By comparison, Germany, which began administering the vaccine on the same day, has given the jab to more than 230,000 people.

It is reported that France has at least 500,000 doses of the Pfizer jab at its disposal. 

The health authority has come under a barrage of criticism in recent days, with William Dab, the former Director General of Health, suggesting it would take 5,000 years to immunize the whole population at the current rate.

“The whole healthcare community does not understand why there is such a gap with Germany: Germany vaccinates 20,000 people per day, we are at 50”, asserted Professor Mehdi Mejdoubi. 

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France is also expecting to take delivery of the Moderna jab this week, further bolstering their vaccine supply.

The country has overcome the worst of the second wave following months of strict measures since late autumn.

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