Emmanuel Macron insists France will match UK’s vaccination success

More than 30 million people in the UK – over half the adult population – have received their first Covid-19 jab.

The milestone comes as Britain’s world-leading vaccination effort gets a lift next month with the arrival of a third vaccine.

But France – despite lagging far behind in its vaccination drive – will catch up with Britain ‘in a few weeks’, president Emmanuel Macron claimed today.

Confident: President Emmanuel Macron

Confident: President Emmanuel Macron

Confident: President Emmanuel Macron

Just 11.7 per cent of French adults – 6.1 million – have received one or more jabs, compared with 57 per cent of UK adults who have received their first jab – some 30,151,287 people.

In addition, 3.5 million Britons have had their second doses.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last night: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled that more than 30 million people have now had the jab across the UK.

‘The vaccine is saving lives and is our route out of this pandemic,’ he said, adding: ‘When you get the call, get the jab.’

Mr Macron said France had significantly ramped up the pace of inoculation and suggested that Britain’s campaign could soon struggle.

‘In a few weeks we will have completely caught up with the British, who will meanwhile be increasingly dependent on us to vaccinate their population,’ he said. He appeared to be referring to stocks of the AstraZeneca vaccine that are produced in EU member states. The EU has threatened to ban pharma firms from exporting coronavirus vaccines to Britain and other well-supplied countries until they make good on their promised deliveries to the bloc – a threat directed mainly at British-based AstraZeneca.

On Friday, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian suggested Britain, which has prioritised getting first vaccine doses to as many people as possible, would struggle to obtain the second doses they needed for full protection.

But Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden insisted the Government will meet its target of giving a jab to all adults by July. And he said he could guarantee that everyone will get a second dose within 12 weeks of their first.

‘We’ve been planning that all the way through,’ the minister told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

‘It’s one of the most important considerations as we’ve rolled out the vaccine.’ On the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he said: ‘You will have seen the ups and downs – we were surging ahead a couple of weeks ago, there’s been a bit of a slow-down now.

‘But that doesn’t undermine our confidence that we will be able to deliver for that crucial group, the over-50s, by the middle of April and then for the rest of the adult population by the end of July.’

Suggestions that the UK will give some of its Covid vaccines to Ireland were played down yesterday on the grounds that there is none to spare. A Government spokesman said: ‘We don’t currently have a surplus of vaccines, but we will consider how these are allocated as they become available.’

Despite the NHS warning of a significant reduction in jabs available in England next month amid a delay to AstraZeneca shipments from India and EU tensions, the first shipment of the Moderna jab is set to arrive next month, adding half a million doses to the nation’s vaccine reservoir.

The Moderna vaccine has been approved for use in the UK and will be the third rolled out after Pfizer and AstraZeneca  (File image)

The Moderna vaccine has been approved for use in the UK and will be the third rolled out after Pfizer and AstraZeneca  (File image)

The Moderna vaccine has been approved for use in the UK and will be the third rolled out after Pfizer and AstraZeneca  (File image) 

The Moderna vaccine has been approved for use in the UK and will be the third rolled out after Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

Mr Dowden said adding Moderna to existing vaccine supplies would be a relief for the overall rollout.

The situation in France was worsening yesterday as the country recorded an additional 42,619 infections – several times the target of 5,000 daily cases Mr Macron set late last year. It comes a week after a third of the French population were placed under a loose form of lockdown.

Critical care doctors in Paris say surging coronavirus infections could soon overwhelm their ability to care for the sick in the capital’s hospitals, possibly forcing them to choose which patients they treat.

Link hienalouca.com

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