Coronavirus

Véran defends strategy to open Covid jab to all adults with chronic illness

France's health minister Olivier Véran says it is pragmatic to allow over-18s with chronic diseases to have the anti-coronavirus jab without a prescription or a medical certificate.
France's health minister Olivier Véran says it is pragmatic to allow over-18s with chronic diseases to have the anti-coronavirus jab without a prescription or a medical certificate. © AP - LUDOVIC MARIN

France’s Heath Minister Olivier Véran has defended his decision to allow all people over the age of 18 with chronic diseases and obesity to receive the coronavirus vaccine without a prescription or a medical certificate.

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"We want it to be simple. The emergency is to vaccinate those most at risk," he told Europe 1 radio station.

Around 4 million people who could be prone to more severe forms of the coronavirus are expected to benefit from the move, which came into force on Saturday.

"I could have asked these four million adults with chronic illnesses to go to their doctors – bottling up doctors' offices in the middle of an epidemic wave – so that they can get a certificate proving they the illnesses," he said. "But we made the choice of common sense.”

Deaths

More than 105,000 people have died from the coronavirus in France since January 2020.

The vaccination programme to stem the spread of the disease was widely lambasted at the start. But French health authorities report more than 16 million people have now received their first jab with nearly seven million of them getting the second.

"The time will come for the entire population to be vaccinated," Véran said. "People have been extraordinarily patient since the beginning of the epidemic with all the restrictions and the lack of vaccines.”

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