The vaccination campaign extended to all people over the age of 75 and to people at risk began on Monday.
But criticism is already being heard from local elected officials, including mayors, who deplore a lack of doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Good start for an expanded vaccination campaign against Covid-19.
After nursing home residents and nursing staff over 50, injection is possible since Monday for those over 75 living at home, as well as people with "high risk" pathologies (cancer under treatment , renal failure, etc.).
In total, nearly 8 million French people are now invited to be vaccinated.
But from the first day, criticisms are heard around the organization and a fear of shortage of doses.
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"Nothing was anticipated"
In the Alpes-Maritimes, in Mandelieu-la-Napoule, the city's convention center is ready to welcome volunteers.
Several spaces have been set up to allow distancing between patients and controlled vaccination.
In the refrigerators, about fifty doses, ready to use.
"I had the letter from my doctor who obviously authorized the vaccine, the town hall gave me an appointment this morning at 10:45 am, things are going very quickly", says Jean-Claude, 78, one of the first to receive the vaccine. injection this Monday.
However, not all are so lucky.
Armand, aged 80, will still have to wait.
"I see England which left Europe and which made more than 2 million vaccines. And us French, one waits, crying for some vaccines", he annoys.
"And then this (Monday) morning, you listen to the government spokesperson who tells us that everything is fine. I do not understand that we have so much nerve, so many possibilities to lie."
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In a department where the elderly represent 30% of the population, elected officials are worried about the shortage of doses.
"We see once again the total bankruptcy of the State: it is a disaster", notes Sébastien Leroy, LR mayor of Mandelieu bitterly.
"Nothing has been anticipated, there is no delivery schedule. We don't even know how many doses we will have for the next three days, so we are unable to make appointments while 'we could vaccinate between 1,500 and 1,800 people per day. "
In less than an hour, the municipal teams confided that they had received nearly 2,600 calls.
Mayors angry at the situation
This situation is not unique to the south of France.
A few hundred kilometers away, in Lille, Mayor Martine Aubry deplores the limited vaccination capacities, despite the efforts of local actors.
Two centers, with a vaccination capacity of 800 and 840 people per week, have opened but the prefecture has refused to do more, she said.
"We are ready to open other sites: we can open the Zenith," says the councilor PS, who ensures that the northern metropolis could vaccinate a thousand people per day.
"The government must tell us the truth: there is a lack of vaccines," laments Martine Aubry.
"I have been silent so far on the masks, on the tests ... I have always done what the government asked us to do, because I know it is difficult. I was Minister of Health" .
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"Today, I say it forcefully: if there are not enough vaccines, which I am really afraid, tell us! That we choose the people who need these doses most. . But we cannot leave again in this uncertainty, when we are ready, we can do a lot more, ”says Martine Aubry.
Many mayors have also expressed their frustration with the doses received on Monday.
Like Jean-Didier Berger (Libres !, ex-LR), mayor of the city of Clamart, in the Hauts-de-Seine.
On the website of the town hall, we can read that "contrary to government announcements", the city has at its disposal only "170 and not 420 doses of vaccine".
Appointments "will have to be postponed".
The principle of reality evoked
The government faces a complex arithmetic equation.
If eight million French people are now invited to be vaccinated, a stock of 16 million doses will be needed to allow the two injections.
However, according to the Directorate General of Health, only 11 million doses will be received at the end of February.
Thus, all priority people will therefore not be able to receive their two anti-Covid injections before mid-March, at best.
"Whenever doses arrive, we make them immediately available, we open meeting slots for the French. We are in a tight flow, it is our strategy, it is the strategy of all the countries which vaccinate ", reassured the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, on the sidelines of a visit to the Grenoble University Hospital.
The sinews of war is obviously the number of doses of vaccine that will be available over time, and as indicated by Alain Fischer, the “Mister vaccine” of the government, “vaccination will progress”, he said. he affirmed on RTL.
"There is an emergency but we must live with a principle of reality: it is 'what quantities of vaccines are available?'".
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To these criticisms were added fears of a drop in pace "for three to four weeks" announced by the American group Pfizer, associated with the German laboratory BioNTech.
On Saturday, the companies finally spoke of a "plan" to speed up production and return to the original schedule of deliveries of its vaccine in Europe "from the week of January 25".
The delay in delivery will be caught up "at the end of the 1st quarter", assured Monday the Minister for Industry Agnès Pannier-Runacher, saying however "vigilant".
In France, deliveries are currently made at a rate of around 500,000 Pfizer vaccines per week.
Nevertheless, these deliveries are distributed in each French department, that is to say a hundred.
Thus, only 5,000 doses per week are delivered for the moment in each community.