On Thursday, February 4, PM Castex told the French people that France was vaccinating “at a brisk pace.”
The reality is somewhat different, thelocal.fr reports. France has inoculated an average of 87,500 people a day in the first eight days of February, far below the number needed to meet the prime minister’s promise of four million injections by the end of the month. On Sunday, February 7, 9,207 people received a first or second dose.
The French government is clearly back-sliding on its promise to have all willing adults inoculated by the end of August and is now saying it hopes to have achieved this goal by September 22.
Journalist John Lichfield, writing on thelocal.fr website, concludes that the French distribution system is at fault. Although it claims to operate on a “just in time” basis, the reality is somewhat different. It is complex and slow-moving.
There have been well-publicised shortfalls in vaccine deliveries in Europe, but to compound that problem France has still not used all the vaccines received in January – an estimated 1,000,000 doses have not been deployed.
Lichfield’s well-argued conclusion is that unless someone “puts a bomb” under the French programme its end of summer targets will be missed by a very long way.
FILE PHOTO: An unused vaccination booth in Paris Reuters