The booking app DoctoLib reported on Twitter that 693,000 appointments for first doses have already been made for Friday, May 14th, and Saturday, May 15th, at vaccine centres, GP surgeries and pharmacies across France.
With 19,269,311 first doses already administered, that means 19,962,311 first doses should be in arms by the end of Saturday, just short of the 20 million target.
🔴 #VaccinationCovid Doctolib estime que le cap des 20M de Français vaccinés sera atteint demain. 19,3M de Français vaccinés hier, 693 000 rdv de 1ère injection prévus aujourd'hui et demain, auxquels s'ajouteront les rdvs pris pour le jour même et le lendemain.#DefiVaccination pic.twitter.com/RgjkXQu87U
— Doctolib (@doctolib) May 14, 2021
But DoctoLib said that this figure does not include same-day appointments, which has led it to predict the 20 million target could well be reached, despite a lack of optimism earlier in the week.
— Ministère des Solidarités et de la Santé (@Sante_Gouv) May 13, 2021
On Sunday, Prime Minister Jean Castex had told France 2 that it looked like the target would not be reached. He blamed “delays” in vaccinating over 55s with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Even if the 20 million first dose threshold isn’t quite cracked on Saturday, it should be broken the following day with many vaccine centres staying open throughout the weekend.
France’s first target – 10 million first doses by mud April – was hit several days early but the next targets are tougher – 30 million first doses by June 15th, and half the adult population by June 23rd. Can it be done, as France seeks to unwind its lockdown measures in time for the summer?
Weekly vaccine rates
The number of Covid-19 vaccine injections has already topped 3 million this week, up from 2.7 million last week. As of last night, 19,269,311 people had received a first vaccine dose. On Monday, that figure was 16.1 million.
And, heeding Emmanuel Macron’s cry to ‘vaccinate morning, noon and night, weekends and public holidays’ the holiday of Ascension saw 428,097 doses reported by the Directorate General of Health on Thursday evening.
That’s much higher than 240,521 doses administered on May 1st, which is also a public holiday.
The past week saw a major change in policy, allowing anyone over the age of 18 to book an appointment if they can find a free one within the next 24 hours. This change, designed to avoided wasted appointments, has seen a surge of people using apps like Chronodoses to find a last-minute appointment.
Some 5,776,448 people were injected in the first 13 days of May, according to official figures. Of that figure, 3,644,168 were first doses.
All those big numbers mean that 28.8 percent of the total population (36.7 percent of all adults in France) have had one vaccine dose. A total 12.8 percent (16.3 percent of adults) have had both doses.
Guillaume Rozier, the data scientist behind Vite Ma Dose and Covid Tracker highlighted that the number of new daily cases of Covid is currently averaging 16,772 per day – a week-on-week drop of 18.8 percent.
On détecte environ 16 772 cas positifs chaque jour, en baisse de 18,8% en une semaine. pic.twitter.com/CM1gZ5R3CP
— GRZ (@GuillaumeRozier) May 14, 2021
In his Twitter thread, he pointed out this is the lowest level since September 2020 – except over Christmas, when screening levels were down.
A total 23,656 patients were being treated for Covid-19 in France’s hospitals on Thursday, May 13th, according to official figures. That figure – while still high – compares favourably to 24,254 on Wednesday, and 26,985 seven days previously.
This number has not been so low since October 31st, 2020.
Of those, 4,442 patients are in intensive care, compared to 4,583 on Wednesday, and 5,231 the previous Thursday.
Some 131 deaths from patients with the Covid-19 virus were recorded over the past 24 hours, official figures say, lower than the grim seven-day average of 195. This daily figure, however, may be abnormally low because Thursday was a public holiday. Figures are expected to catch up on Friday or Monday.
Even so, the number of deaths has fallen 15 percent week-on-week.