‘Angry’ French leaders turn on Emmanuel Macron in outrage at President’s vaccine farce

France: Mayor shares concerns over vaccine rollout

Local authority chiefs have lashed out at the President over the lack of support from Paris amid claims of vaccine shortages, delays, needless bureaucracy and incompetence within the health ministry. France’s vaccine roll-out has been plagued by controversy since the very start with its cumbersome processes meaning just a handful of people were receiving their jabs each day. The programme now appears to be beset with supply-chain issues. 

I am a bit angry. Please, Mr President, buy vaccines whatever the cost

Jeanne Becart

Jeanne Becart, mayor of the Paris suburb of Garches, said public health officials told her to get ready to administer 1,200 COVID-19 shots at the vaccination centre she set up but then sent her just 420 doses.

She said: “I am a bit angry. Please, Mr President, buy vaccines whatever the cost.”

Katy Bontinck, the deputy mayor in charge of health in Saint-Denis, on the northern edge of Paris, was sent just 132 doses.

Ms Bontinck said: “Unfortunately that does not match the need.”

She said the vaccination hub set up by the local mayor’s office could only open on weekday afternoons because of the limited amount of doses.

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Town hall officials on the south coast have reported similar issues with vaccine shortages.

Barbara Thery, head of a vaccination centre in Le Cannet, just outside the Mediterranean city of Cannes, said she had enough doses to give 50 injections per day but could easily perform 200 a day if enough vaccine was distributed.

She said: “People have understood now that the vaccination is the solution.

“So the relationship between the number of people who come forward and want to be vaccinated, and the speed at which we can do it is not what we need.”

France has approved both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for use.

Government officials insist France is not experiencing problems with the supply of vaccines and that apart from minor fluctuations, is getting the correct number of doses from the manufacturers that were allocated.

But they acknowledged demand has exploded and is far outstripping the number of jabs available.

Many French people were initially sceptical, but as they have seen acquaintances get vaccinated with no adverse effects, large numbers decided the benefits outweigh the risks.

Mr Macron ditched a plan to initially give the vaccine only to those in elderly people’s homes, meaning everyone 75 and over – a total of more than 6 million people in France – became eligible for the jab, but without the doses in place to vaccinate them straight away.

Health Minister Olivier Veran said as fast as they were being produced, the vaccines were being shipped to vaccination centres.

A Health Ministry official said the supply was speeding up and the government was on track to meet its target of vaccinating 2.4 million people by the end of February.

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France reported 23,608 new confirmed COVID-19 cases yesterday, up from 3,736 on Monday, while admissions to intensive care units continued to rise.

Mr Veran said the coronavirus was still circulating at a worrying level but stopped short of recommending a third national lockdown.

A nationwide curfew was brought forward to start at 6pm from last Saturday, and authorities say it will remain in place for at least a fortnight.

Health ministry data also showed 656 people had died from the virus in hospitals yesterday, up from 403 on Monday, bringing the total death toll to 71,342, the world’s seventh-highest.

France’s cumulative total of cases is fast approaching 3 million, the sixth-highest in the world.

The health ministry also said that the number of people to receive coronavirus vaccines rose to 585,664 from 479,873 as of Monday.

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