Macron slammed by French residents for slow EU vaccine rollout
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The French President criticised the UK’s approach to vaccinations last month after British health chiefs decided to delay second doses for up to 12 weeks. He said: “When you have all the health agencies and the manufacturers who are telling you that for it to work you have to have two injections with a maximum of 28 days between the two, as is the case with Pfizer/BioNTech, and you have countries that have a vaccination strategy of only giving one injection, I am not sure that it’s totally serious.
“Scientists tell you that we accelerate mutations when you only give one injection because people are less well covered and therefore the virus adapts.
“We lie to people when we say ‘you are vaccinated’.
“You have a first dose of a vaccine that is made up of two.”
Mr Macron also criticised the effectiveness of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine for those over the age of 65.
But now the French leader has decided to pursue a similar strategy with those who have already recovered from coronavirus.
The French health ministry said the country will only give one dose of vaccines to people who have already suffered from the deadly disease as one shot will be enough to remind people’s immune systems how to fight it.
They said: “A single vaccine dose will also play the role of ‘reminding’ people’s immune system how to fight Covid-19.
“At the moment no country has clearly positioned itself in terms of a sole vaccination dose for people who have already contracted Covid-19.”
The move was promptly criticised by Generation Frexit leader Charles-Henri Gallois who told Express.co.uk the French President is, as usual, acting in the interests of Brussels more than in the interests of French citizens.
He said: “Like when he had criticised the AstraZeneca vaccine, Macron seems more driven by politics than health issues.
“Indeed, he had decided that this vaccine should not be given to people over 65 because the EU had a fight with this lab.
“No scientific study had given any evidence about that.
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“It’s quite the same when he decides that those who have already recovered from coronavirus should have only one vaccine shot.
“He wants to address the EU shortage on vaccines, but it’s not driven by any scientific case.
“He just wants to defend the EU, not the French people, as always.”
France reported 21,231 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday, slightly up from 20,701 on Friday.
The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 199 to 81,647 – the seventh-highest death toll globally – versus 320 on Friday.
There were 10,037 new patients hospitalised with the disease over the last seven days and 1,795 new admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) over the period, the Health Ministry said.
In contrast with some of its neighbours who are struggling to control more contagious variants, France has resisted resorting to a new lockdown, hoping a national curfew in place since December 15, first at 8 pm then at 6 pm, will be enough to contain the pandemic.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told BFM television on Saturday the French population was at the end of its patience and that a new lockdown could only be “the very last options when all others have been tried”.
Some scientists, however, believe President Emmanuel Macron took a gamble by deciding against a new lockdown despite the threat of highly contagious COVID-19 variants.
Arnaud Fontanet, a member of the scientific council that advises the government on COVID-19 policy, told Europe 1 radio on Saturday he feared the variant first detected in Britain could account for the majority of the cases in March.
In the Moselle region, in eastern France, where variant cases have surged, the prefecture ruled out at least for now closing the schools or implementing a local lockdown that had been requested by some local officials.
The total cumulative number of cases in France increased to 3,448,617, the sixth-highest in the world.
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