On the eve of a new boost on the vaccination against Covid-19, open Monday to all over 50 years old, caution remains in order on the front of the epidemic because of a persistent mistrust vis-à-vis - with regard to the AstraZeneca and a still "worrying" health situation.
From Monday, all French people aged 50 and over will be able to be vaccinated unconditionally, five days earlier than initially planned.
And from Wednesday, injections will also be accessible to over 18s when a time slot will be available the day before for the next day on appointment booking platforms like Doctolib, so as not to waste any dose.
But the campaign faces several pitfalls, including persistent mistrust of the AstraZeneca vaccine, of which only 75% of the doses received were injected according to figures released last Sunday.
Anxious to increase the pace, Prime Minister Jean Castex recalled on Saturday the absence of "danger" linked to the Anglo-Swedish vaccine for those over 55 for whom it is reserved.
Objective: Twenty million vaccinated on May 17
"The authorities are all unanimous, in France as elsewhere", he stressed, calling on the population to be "vaccinated with all vaccines, in particular with AstraZeneca".
In total, AstraZeneca has resulted in "30 cases, including 9 deaths" of rare thromboses in France, out of more than 3,855,000 doses administered on April 29, according to the French Medicines Agency (ANSM).
On France Inter, the European commissioner in charge of the internal market Thierry Breton revealed that the European Union had for the moment not renewed its contract for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines with this manufacturer for after the month of June, leaving to hover doubt about what will be decided in the future.
“We must continue to do it [vaccinate with AstraZeneca] because it will help us out of the crisis.
But to respond to the variants, we see that other vaccines are more effective today.
This signals a European pragmatism and I welcome it, ”responded Emmanuel Macron in Strasbourg.
If the objective set by the government of 30 million French people vaccinated in mid-June remains uncertain, the bar of 20 million people who received at least one injection in mid-May (against more than 17.8 million currently) should be reached " May 17, ”says Doctolib boss Stanislas Niox-Chateau.
"We now vaccinate just in time"
According to him, "we now vaccinate just in time" but "the limiting factor remains the number of doses".
Another brake, vaccination "two to three times" less "weekends and holidays", a tendency to fight with the approach of several bridges (Ascension, Pentecost), he insisted, also calling for to "rely more" on liberal doctors and pharmacists.
The vaccination campaign could also suffer from the summer holidays, due to a lack of caregivers or the delay of six to twelve weeks between two injections depending on the vaccines.
Between now and the summer holidays, the government intends to continue the gradual lifting of health restrictions, with in particular, on May 19, the reopening of non-essential stores, cultural places and terraces.
He will submit Monday to deputies his plan to end the health crisis, certain provisions, such as the health pass, are cringe among parliamentarians.
A rebound this summer?
But the context remains tense, despite the slow decline in the number of hospitalized patients, especially in intensive care units (4,971 on Saturday, against more than 6,000 on April 26), and the drop in the rate of deaths, which fell to 116 on Saturday.
The drop in hospital admissions over the last 24 hours is clear: 527 patients, against 844 on Saturday and 1,140 on Friday.
The positivity rate continues to decrease to 5.8% against 6.2% the day before.
Eleven crew members of a ship sailing between India and Brazil off Reunion Island have tested positive for this variant and four of them are hospitalized on the island.
About twenty doctors and researchers deplore in a forum a progressive deconfinement "guided more by political designs than by a health objective", denouncing the "vague criteria" associated with a possible return / maintenance of restrictions.
"According to the Institut Pasteur, only an optimistic scenario would make it possible to avoid an epidemic rebound during the summer", they underline, recalling the still "worrying" situation mentioned on April 21 by the scientific council.
And while elsewhere in the world the pandemic is worsening, France has just extended to seven additional countries (Turkey, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Qatar) the mandatory quarantine on arrival on the territory, already in force notably for India and Brazil.
Vaccination: Jean Castex urges those over 55 to be vaccinated, "in particular with AstraZeneca"
Coronavirus: The number of Covid patients in intensive care drops below 5,000