France’s Covid-19 vaccination programme is set to be boosted by seven million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab after European Union chiefs struck a continent-wide deal with the American and German drugmakers.
The French allocation comes as part of an additional 50 million doses over the next three months for all of the EU’s 27 members.
Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commission President, said Pfizer/BioNTech had demonstrated its reliability.
“We need to focus on technologies that have proven their worth,” she said. “It has delivered on its commitments and it is responsive to our needs. This is to the immediate benefit of EU citizens.”
France’s European affairs minister, Clément Beaune, on Thursday echoed Von der Leyen’s sentiments and hailed the allocation as a sign of a better health policy within the bloc.
"There was no Europe-wide idea of health at the beginning,” Beaune told RadioJFrance. “There was nothing. We are building it in the crisis.”
The consignment will make Pfizer/BioNTech the most widely used vaccine in France with 90 million of the 150 million shots ordered.
The move for more Pfizer/BioNTech comes as the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine has been called into question due to cases of blood clots occurring following vaccinations.
On Wednesday, Denmark became the first country to stop using AstraZeneca’s shot altogether over a potential link to a rare but serious form of blood clot.
Soren Brostrom, the head of the Danish health agency, said results of investigations into the AstraZeneca-associated blood clots had showed real and serious side-effects.
“We have therefore chosen to continue the vaccination programme for all target groups without this vaccine,” Brostrom added.
Astrazeneca said it respected Denmark’s choice and would continue to provide it with data to inform future decisions.
“Implementation and rollout of the vaccine programme is a matter for each country to decide, based on local conditions,” the Anglo-Swedish company said.