PARIS, France | France will expand COVID-19 vaccination to the wider public in the coming weeks, with the government’s goal to gradually ease restrictions on summer vacations.
• Read also – COVID-19: first case of Indian variant identified in France
All French people over 18 will be able to get vaccinated from June 15, President Macron announced on Friday after unveiling a schedule for lifting the restrictive measures the day before.
People over 50 years old without a certain disease will have less time to wait: vaccinations will be open for them from May 15, added Mr. Macron.
At the moment, vaccination is open to all French people over the age of 55, and this age requires special medical reasons, with the exception of priority occupations.
The first expansion will take place this weekend, when vaccinations will be opened for “about 4 million vulnerable French people,” that is, adults who “suffer from chronic diseases,” as Health Minister Olivier Veran previously announced on franceinfo radio.
In recent days, there have been many voices in France to pressure the government to open wide the floodgates of vaccination.
But the executive is refusing to blow up the criteria until June 15th. “There are departments where many vulnerable people still need vaccinations,” explained Mr. Veran.
In total, more than 15 million people have already received the first vaccination (29% of the adult population), of which 6.2 million are fully vaccinated (9.3% of the total population, 11.9% of the main population).
At the same time, the reduction of restrictive measures will be carried out in four stages: Monday, May 3 (removal of travel restrictions up to 10 km, partial return of middle and high school students to class), May 19 (curfew extended until 21:00, limited opening of stores, cinemas, museums, theaters and bar terraces), June 9 (curfew at 23:00, limited opening of closed cafes and restaurants), then June 30 (end of curfew), on the eve of vacation.
However, this finding worries some experts, as the epidemic rates remain high despite the slow decline.
There are currently 29,487 Covid patients hospitalized, including 5,804 in intensive care units, and 321 have died in hospitals in the past 24 hours, for a total of 104,253 people have died since the outbreak began.
Another cause for concern is related to the first sightings of the Indian variant in the southwest and south of France.
This variant, found in at least 17 countries, is of concern due to the sharp deterioration in the health situation in India.
However, nothing proves that he is the only one responsible: according to the WHO, the epidemic explosion in this country is undoubtedly largely caused by a large population gathering without any barrier gestures.