France - vaccinations

Minimum interval between Pfizer, Moderna jabs shortened to 3 weeks in France

 Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination, Nantes, France, June 2021.
Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination, Nantes, France, June 2021. © Stephane Mahe/Reuters

The minimum period between the first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna anti-Covid vaccine will now be 21 days, French health minister Olivier Véran announced on Tuesday. This in a bid to avoid logistical chaos at the approach of the summer holidays.

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The maximum time between each jab will remain at 7 weeks.

The interval between each jab until now was between 5 and 7 weeks but some people have been choosing not to have a first jab because they do not want to interrupt their summer holidays to travel to receive the second dose.

The change, possible because of a greater supply of vaccines, is intended to encourage as many people as possible to have their first or second doses, against a background of new variants.

With the holiday season approaching, Véran also wants to avoid a situation where people are queuing up for their second jabs in popular holiday destinations.

He said having jabs in holiday towns should be “the exception rather than the rule”, although what he called “a safety net” would be put in place to deal with such exceptions.

Around 70 million doses expected over summer

Véran told the French National Assembly he hoped that 90 percent of the over 75s would soon be fully vaccinated, the figure for those who have received at least one dose is currently 80 percent.

Over 30 million people in France have now received at least one dose of a vaccine and on Tuesday the vaccination programme was extended to 12-18 year olds with a parent's permission.

He noted the significant change in attitude towards the vaccines in France, reminding parliamentarians that while in January only 50 percent of population said they intended to get a vaccination today 80 percent are in favour.

A total of 23 million vaccine doses, mostly those supplied by Pfizer and Moderna are due for delivery in June, with the same number in July and at least as many again in August, according to the economy ministry.

The interval between AstraZeneca jabs, at around 12 weeks, will remain unchanged but the vaccine is not used on people under the age of 55 in France.

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