France hopes to offer Covid-19 vaccinations to the general public between April and June next year, President Emmanuel Macron told a press briefing at the Élysée Palace on Tuesday. Early 2021 will see a first campaign targeting those most at risk followed by a second campaign for the rest of the population.
Hopes that a Covid-19 vaccine could be ready for use by the end of this year received a boost on Monday when US firm Moderna said it was filing for an emergency authorisation of its Covid-19 vaccine in both the United States and Europe.
Another vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has also been submitted for approval on both sides of the Atlantic in recent days. Both versions claim around 95 percent effectiveness.
Pfizer/BioNTech predicted their vaccine could be approved in the United States shortly after December 10, while Europe's medicines regulator said Tuesday that it would decide by December 29 whether to grant it emergency approval ahead of Moderna's treatment.
Five phases for first vaccinations
France unveiled a plan for a five-phase roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccine on Monday that the health authority (Haute Autorité de Santé) said it was hoping to begin in late December or early January. The plan aims to vaccinate the country's most vulnerable, starting with the elderly followed by those over 65 with comorbidities (the presence of one or more additional medical conditions).
Phase I: The first stage involves vaccinating the estimated 650,000 elderly residents living in care homes.
Phase II: Stage two involves vaccinating people over 75 followed by those older than 65 with comorbidities and finally all other people between 65 and 74 years of age.
Phase III: All people over 50 years of age will be vaccinated in the third stage, followed by people under 50 who have comorbidities.
Phase IV: People who have been in high-risk contact with known coronavirus cases will be offered the vaccine during the fourth stage.
Phase V: All other people over 18 years of age will be granted access to the vaccine in the fifth and final stage of the roll-out, although vaccination will not be compulsory in France.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)