Mass COVID-19 inoculations needed in vaccine-sceptic France: Scientist

Mass COVID-19 inoculations needed in vaccine-sceptic France: Scientist

Closed restaurant during the national lockdown in Paris
A man wearing a protective face mask walks past closed restaurants in the Quartier Latin in Paris during the national lockdown to combat a resurgence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, November 25, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS: France could return to some sort of post-coronavirus normal in about a year if as many as 80 per cent to 90 per cent of its population are vaccinated against the disease, a government scientific adviser said on Thursday (Nov 26).

But getting there might prove difficult as the French are among the most sceptical towards vaccination in the Western world, an attitude fuelled by various conspiracy theories in which denial of science is rife.

Arnaud Fontanet, a leading epidemiologist, told BFM TV France needed to get a vaccination rate of up to 90 per cent for a return to ordinary life by next autumn.

READ: France's Macron eases some COVID-19 lockdown rules amid 'glimmer of hope'

According to an Ipsos poll for the World Economic Forum, only 59per cent of French respondents said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if it became available, compared with 67 per cent in the United States and 85 per cent in Britain.

President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday the COVID-19 vaccine could start being administered as soon as the end of the year in France if approved by regulators, adding that it would not be compulsory.

Centrist Francois Bayrou, one of Macron's main allies, said he was in favour of mandatory vaccination provided its efficiency and safety are guaranteed.

Prime Minister Jean Castex might shed a light on how the vaccination programme will be rolled out during a press conference scheduled for later on Thursday, when he will detail how France will gradually unwind its second national lockdown.

With more than 2,17 million confirmed COVID-19 infections, France has the fourth-highest tally in the world, behind the United States, India and Brasil. Its death toll, at 50,618, ranks seventh in the world.

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Source: Reuters

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