France's family doctors to give anti-Covid vaccines in bid to speed up rollout
29,000 family doctors will join the effort to speed up the vaccination roll out in France when they begin vaccinating patients from Thursday.
Doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are being delivered this week to nearly 30,000 family doctors but with supplies still limited, each doctor will receive only ten doses of the vaccine.
“It’s clear that production capacity is increasing but for the moment we have to make do with what we have,” the President of the French Federation of Doctors, Jean-Paul Hamon told France Info radio station.
Priority patients will be those aged between 50 and 64 who have underlying health conditions or are overweight, according to Jacques Battistoni of the French Family Doctors union. “These are the people most at risk of having a serious form of the illness,” he told the radio station.
Each vial contains ten doses which must be used up within 6 hours.
Effective 'very quickly'
“Even after the first injection, the vaccine is effective very quickly, it gives 70% protection against serious forms of the disease”, says Jean-Paul Hamon, “and after two doses it is about 84% effective. It really is a vaccine which is very effective and will help us halt the spread of the disease.”
Hamon says there should be more communication around the AstraZeneca vaccine. He fears that statistics detailing mild side effects have left some people uneasy about receiving it.
“We should be telling people it’s a good vaccine … that people should not hesitate to get vaccinated, and that just because one in five people have a fever for a day or two [after receiving the vaccine] that doesn’t mean it’s a bad vaccine – on the contrary.”
So far only 2% of the French population has received both doses of an anti-Covid vaccine.
Weekend lockdown for Dunkirk?
Meanwhile, extra anti-Covid measures are to be introduced in the northern town of Dunkirk and the surrounding area amid a spike in infections.
Figures show that there are 901 cases of Covid per 100,000 people in the area.
The decision follows a meeting between Mayor of Dunkirk Patrice Vergiete and Prime Minister Jean Castex on Tuesday morning.
It’s possible the new measures could include a weekend lockdown, like the one announced for Nice on the Côte d’Azur, to begin on Friday.
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