France lockdown: Government faces criticism from French press
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France has seen its vaccine rollout programme stumble from one disaster to the next, with the French President and his under-fire Government torn apart for the sluggish rollout of jabs to the country’s 67 million people. The French Government has also toed the EU line by launching several scathing attacks against vaccine maker AstraZeneca as part of a war of words over production issues and the number of jabs available to the bloc’s 450 million residents.
Last week, the country was among more than half of the bloc’s current 27 member states to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over fears it triggered blood clots in patients.
France has also now warned of a third wave of coronavirus striking the country following a huge spike in cases over recent days that has seen some strict restrictions re-introduced.
But a new survey of over 5,000 people during the week of March 15 across five nations (UK, France, Germany, France and Australia) shows the French are most sceptical when it comes to Covid vaccinations.
It found in France, 15 percent “would never get the vaccine”, compared to nine percent in Germany and just four percent in the UK.
Just over a quarter in France said they “would try to get it immediately”.
Seven in ten Brits said they would be happy to receive a Covid jab straight away, as well as just under half (47 percent) in Germany.
More than a quarter (26 percent) in France would want to first get assurances from their doctor before receiving a vaccine, while a similar number would “wait until it’s been available for a bit of time and many others have had it, just to be sure it’s safe”.
The stunning findings reveal the huge imbalance in trust of vaccines in connections with the level of success the UK has achieved with its rollout programme compared to the EU.
More than half of UK adults have now received at least one vaccine jab, compared with just over ten percent for the continent.
Last week, France was among a number of EU countries to reverse its decision to temporarily pause the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over blood clot concerns after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) described the jab as “safe and effective”.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex quickly received the vaccine from the pharmaceutical giant in what was seen as an attempt to calm fears over the jab.
Mr Macron has since announced France will offer vaccine jabs to anyone over 70 from this weekend as he desperately attempts to inject more urgency into the country’s flailing vaccination campaign.
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The French President’s government had previously refused to open up vaccine slots for the age-group until mid-April.
Vaccinations are currently only available for those aged over 75 and anyone with a significant and pre-existing medical condition.
But the head of France’s hospital federation warned hospitals could face an “unprecedented shock” within three weeks as infections surge once again, urging stricter restrictions on social interaction if the spread did not slow soon.
Last weekend, new restrictions that saw non-essential stores close and a limit on how far people can move came into effect in Paris and much of the north, but Mr Macron has so far stopped short of enforcing another national lockdown.
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