Covid-19: the French government wants to vaccinate more to reopen better

All French people over 18 years of age will be able to be vaccinated against Covid-19 from June 15, announced Emmanuel Macron on Friday, after having unveiled the day before the schedule for the gradual lifting of the restriction measures.

“You are 18 years of age or over: meet on June 15 to get vaccinated,” assured the President of the Republic on Twitter, the culmination of a large two-day communication sequence.

People over 50 without any particular disease will have less time to wait: for them, vaccination will be open from May 15, added the Head of State in a series of tweets introduced by the message “Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate” .

For the moment, vaccination is open to everyone from the age of 55 and specific medical reasons are necessary below this age, excluding priority professions.

A first enlargement will take place this weekend, with the opening of vaccination “to some 4 million fragile French”, that is to say adults who “suffer from chronic diseases”, had previously announced the Minister of Health , Olivier Véran, on franceinfo.

This expansion corresponds to the extension to all adults of the list of pathologies which hitherto opened up vaccination to 50-54 year olds.

– Without prescription –

This precise list includes in particular cardiovascular pathologies, “complicated hypertension” (and not current hypertension, very widespread), obesity (body mass index greater than 30) or a history of stroke.

However, no “medical prescription” will be requested, the ministry said in a statement at the end of the afternoon: “Upon declaration of their (s) comorbidity (s), (these adults) can be vaccinated with vaccines Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna “.

In fact, some could therefore try to be vaccinated without actually being affected by these pathologies.

“We trust people,” the ministry assured AFP, recalling that this mechanism was already in effect for the over 50s concerned.

Until now, those under 50 were only eligible if they had a “very high risk of severe form of Covid-19”, such as people on treatment for cancer.

In recent days, many voices have been raised to put pressure on the government to open wide the floodgates of vaccination.

This has been the case since Friday in a large part of Overseas (including Guadeloupe, Martinique and Guyana), where all adults can be vaccinated.

But in metropolitan France, the executive refuses to blow up the criteria before June 15. Among those already eligible, there remain “4 million” who have not yet been vaccinated, explained Mr. Véran.

In total, more than 15 million people have already received a first injection (29% of the adult population), of which 6.2 million have been fully vaccinated (9.3% of the total population, 11.9% of the major).

Faced with recurring criticism since the start of the vaccination campaign at the end of December, the executive hopes to gain momentum in parallel with the gradual easing of restrictions.

– Indian variant –

The reduction will be done in four stages, announced Thursday by Mr. Macron: Monday, May 3 (end of travel restrictions to 10 km, partial return of middle school and high school students to class), May 19 (curfew pushed back to 9 p.m., reopening limited shops, cinemas, museums, theaters and bar terraces), June 9 (curfew at 11:00 p.m., limited reopening of indoor cafes and restaurants) then June 30 (end of curfew), on the eve of the holidays.

These reopenings worry many specialists, however, because despite a slow decline, the indicators of the epidemic remain at a high level.

In one week, the number of intensive care patients fell by some 300 people, but on Friday there were still 5,675 critical care beds occupied by Covid patients, including 323 admitted in the last 24 hours. All departments combined, 28,930 coronavirus patients were hospitalized on Friday, and 271 died in 24 hours, for a total exceeding 104,500 deaths since the start of the epidemic.

By lifting the restrictions with indicators at these levels, “the resumption of the epidemic (…) is almost inevitable”, alarmed the nephrologist Gilbert Deray, Friday on LCI.

The schedule is “prudent and pragmatic” and it takes “above all” into account “the desire of the French to resume an increasingly normal life,” defended government spokesman Gabriel Attal.

But another front of concern opened with the first detections of the Indian variant in metropolitan France: three cases in New Aquitaine, two in Bouches-du-Rhône, after two first in Guadeloupe.

Spotted in at least 17 countries, the Indian variant is worrying because of the spectacular deterioration of 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 fueled by large gatherings of population, without barrier gestures.

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