FRANCE BEGINS DISTRIBUTING COVID VACCINE AMID UK VARIANT WARNING

HIGHLIGHTS

  • France is distributing the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
  • As epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet warned about possibility of coronavirus variant B.1.1.7 from UK dominating Franceby MAR 2021.

France has started distributing the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine as epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet warned the government coronavirus variant B.1.1.7 which was first identified in the United Kingdom (UK), could be dominant in the country by MAR 2021.

Fontanet is a member of the Scientific Council advising the French government on the pandemic. Talking to media, he said that between 7-8 JAN 2021, the B.1.1.7 Variant accounted for 3.3% of new coronavirus cases. On 27 JAN 2021, 14% of cases were about the new variant. Dr. Fontanet concluded that the new variant of virus was 50% to 60% more transmissible than the 2020 virus. He estimated that at the current rate, the English variant could become 30-35% by mid-February and the number of hospital admissions would be around 2,000 a day. By MAR 2021, the new variant could be dominant.

According to media reports, the French Ministry of Health announced that the first shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been delivered by the government to healthcare professionals. The Ministry said that the first doses would be given to healthcare staff under the age of 65. The first shipment contained 273,600 doses. The second shipment of 304,800 doses is expected soon.

At the time of this news report being written, France has successfully administered two million vaccines. According to the latest update from the French health agency called Sante Publique France, 1,843,763 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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