Pharmacies will be able to open on Sundays in December and January to speed up vaccinations in France. Up until now, regional health authorities prevent many of the country’s pharmacies from staying open on Sundays.
Speaking on France 2, the French Health Minister Olivier Véran described pharmacists as “essential pillars” of the country’s booster dose campaign.
On Tuesday, the government announced that pharmacists who worked on Sundays and bank holidays would receive extra payment for each dose administered. Nurses delivering vaccinations through home visits on these days will also receive bonuses.
On Wednesday, more than 650,000 people received booster doses in France. But Véran warned that the vaccination process had to “go more quickly”.
The Health Minister noted that there had been 72,000 Covid contaminations in a 24-hour period – a new record. “We have not seen that since the beginning of the pandemic,” he said in an interview .
The government is taking a number of measures to expand vaccination coverage. Over 65s who want to receive a booster dose and unvaccinated people no longer have to book an appointment to get vaccinated. New vaccination centres are opening across the country. Children over the age of 5 are set to become eligible for vaccination. And booster doses will soon be required for people who want to continue using the health pass to access various public venues.
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Véran reiterated the government’s plea for people to respect barrier measures and to limit social gatherings to help reach the pass the peak of the fifth wave “between now and the end of the month.”
“We are seeing a slowing down in epidemiological growth: cases numbers were rising by 60 percent in a week, then by 40 percent and now by around 25-30 percent,” he said.