Vaccination will initially use the new vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech, adapted to the variant which mainly circulates, XBB.1.5. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP
Faced with an increase in the circulation of the virus responsible for Covid-19, the Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, decided to bring forward the vaccination campaign by two weeks, to October 2, he announced on Friday September 15 at Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Vaccination for the most vulnerable people was initially to be carried out at the same time as that concerning seasonal flu, on October 17, but the minister decided to follow the advice of the Committee for Monitoring and Anticipation of Health Risks ( Covars), who recommends “access to the vaccination booster as soon as possible”.
“Faced with uncertainties about the evolution of the circulation of the virus, I contacted Covars on September 8 to ask them whether it was necessary to accelerate the opening of the vaccination campaign against Covid”detailed Mr. Rousseau to AFP. “I have just received Professor Brigitte Autran [présidente du Covars], who gave me the opinion of September 15 recommending opening vaccination more quickly to vulnerable people more directly exposed to the virus”, he continued. This decision follows a “simple observation: the Covid epidemic is here”.
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Some 2.5 million doses currently available
In France, the virus surveillance system has been considerably simplified, it is currently close to that of the flu. In this context, it is difficult to closely follow its circulation. “We think that the incidence has increased by around thirty percent since last week, this must be taken with great caution, but the virus is circulating, each of us can see cases around us”underlined Mr. Rousseau.
Vaccination will mainly target those over 65, vulnerable people, suffering from co-morbidities, pregnant women, nursing home residents and people living in contact with vulnerable people. It will initially use the new vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech, adapted to the variant which mainly circulates, XBB.1.5.
Some 2.5 million doses are currently available, the minister told AFP, specifying that in total we would have «13.5 million twos» by November.
England announced at the end of August that it was bringing forward its vaccination campaign against Covid-19 to September 11. “This is not to sound the alarm, but as the epidemic is here we are highlighting vaccines which are effective for the most vulnerable people”underlined Mr. Rousseau, also insisting on the necessary continuation of barrier gestures.
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