France passes 50 millon mark for Covid vaccinations

France passes 50 millon mark for Covid vaccinations
People arrive to be vaccinated against Covid-19 at a vaccination centre set up at the Stade de France near Paris. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / POOL / AFP)
The number of people in France who have received at least one jab against Covid-19 has crossed the 50-million mark, President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.

Macron made the announcement in a video posted on social media in which he also said that “the vaccine saves lives and the virus kills, it’s that simple”.

After a slow start, France now has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, with close to 90 percent of adults in the country of 67 million people having received one or two vaccine doses.

Macron’s government had initially announced end-August as the target date for the 50-million mark.

The introduction of a Covid “health pass” in July, requiring people to prove that they have been either vaccinated or recently tested negative for Covid-19 to be able to access restaurants, bars, gyms or museums acted as a game-changer for millions of vaccine sceptics.

But there have also been weekly demonstrations across French cities against the health pass, with 180 more protests expected on Saturday.

According to a police source, some 17,000 protesters are expected in Paris, and between 80,000 and 120,000 in the rest of the country — a similar figure to last week’s turnout, but only half the numbers seen in early August.

Macron said on Thursday that “some constraints” could be lifted in areas where the virus spread was slowing, but gave no details or a timetable.

The French health authorities on Thursday reported just over 8,100 new Covid cases in the previous 24 hours, and 65 new virus deaths.

The total number of French Covid deaths stood at 115,894, the Sante Publique agency said.


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