Macron announces Covid-19 booster shot campaign for 50 to 64-year-olds from early December

·3-min read

French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation Tuesday amid a fresh rise in the rate of Covid-19 infections and announced a booster shot campaign for 50 to 64-year-olds due to start in December.

Citing the World Health Organization, Macron said the fifth wave of Covid-19 has begun in Europe. The French president said the rising Covid-19 incidence rate, up 40 percent in France over the past week, as well as rising hospitalisations were "alert signals".

Macron appealed to those in France who have yet to receive a single dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to get vaccinated. “Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated to protect yourselves. Get vaccinated to live normally,” he said.

The president announced that from December 15, over-65s will need to show proof of having received a vaccine booster shot to continue benefitting from France's health pass, which provides access to restaurants, cultural events and intercity rail travel.

Macron also announced a booster shot campaign would begin for 50 to 64-year-olds from early December.

France is currently registering some 7,277 new coronavirus cases per day on average, up from a recent seven-day average low of 4,172 on October 10, and the country hit a one-month high for patients hospitalised due to Covid-19 on November 3.

Due to the rebound, masks will also again be compulsory for all students at elementary schools from next Monday, the education ministry announced after Macron's speech.

Macron also said conditions were not right given the pandemic to press ahead with his planned overhaul of France’s costly pensions system, which had been a key plank of his 2017 election platform. “From 2022 onwards, we will need to make clear decisions regarding the reform of the pension system,” he said. France’s presidential elections are scheduled for next April.

During the 27-minute speech, Macron announced that France would launch a drive to build new nuclear power plants in order to better meet growing energy and environmental challenges.

"To guarantee France's energy independence and achieve our objectives, in particular carbon neutrality in 2050, we will for the first time in decades relaunch the construction of nuclear reactors in our country," he said.

Macron also said that he wanted France to step up manufacturing of key technological components within the country, to cut its reliance on the provision of such products from the United States and Asia.

The French leader's last major televised speech took place on July 12, at the start of the country's fourth wave of coronavirus infections, when he announced that vaccinations would become mandatory for all health workers.

Macron’s new inoculation message appeared to have been received on Tuesday evening in France, with 100,000 Covid-19 vaccination appointments booked in the hour following the president’s speech via the Doctolib medical website, AFP reported, compared to 80,000 booked through the same site on Monday.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

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