France has met its mid-June target of administering 30 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine – several days ahead of schedule.
In a post on Twitter Saturday, Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed that just under half the population had been at least partially vaccinated.
"Objective reached! Thank you to all those who got vaccinated: it is thanks to you that we will win the battle against the virus," he wrote.
After a difficult start, France's vaccination campaign has been gaining momentum as the eligibility criteria is broadened. Over the past week more than 600,000 injections have been administered per day.
France will start inoculating 12-15 year olds as of Tuesday, when the third stage of the vaccine drive begins.
Professor Alain Fischer, the immunologist who heads the government's vaccination advisory board, told the Journal du Dimanche (JDD) this was an "arithmetical imperative" to get closer to herd immunity.
Meanwhile Health Minister Olivier Veran, also speaking to JDD, warned people under 45 – many of whom have put off their vaccine appointments – against complacency as coronavirus restrictions are eased.
“We must not wait, because that's how epidemics start again – from people who are not vaccinated,” he said.
“We have a lot of vaccine doses, so we must take advantage we have to go for it.”