PARIS – France’s cautious approach to its virus vaccine rollout appears to have backfired, leaving just a few hundred people vaccinated after the first week and rekindling anger over the government´s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
President Emmanuel Macron is holding a special meeting with top government officials Monday afternoon to address the vaccine strategy and other virus developments.
In France, a country of 67 million people, just 516 people were vaccinated in the first six days while Germany´s first-week total surpassed 200,000 and Italy´s was over 100,000. Millions, meanwhile, have been vaccinated in the U.S. and China.
The slow vaccine rollout is being blamed on mismanagement and staffing shortages during end-of-year vacations – as well as a complex consent policy designed to accommodate broad vaccine skepticism among the French public.
Doctors and opposition politicians pleaded Monday for speedier access to vaccines.
“It´s a state scandal,” said Jean Rottner, president of the Grand-Est region of eastern France, where infections are surging and some hospitals are overwhelmed. “Getting vaccinated is becoming more complicated than buying a car.”