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January 11, 2021 @ 12:36 +03:00
France is currently lagging far behind other European nations with its Covid-19 vaccine rollout, which could potentially hurt the re-election chances of President Emmanuel Macron. As of Friday, 80,000 French citizens had been vaccinated against the coronavirus so far. In comparison, neighboring Germany has done hundreds of thousands of inoculations. The success or failure in vaccinating the population will likely shape the political debate as the campaign for the 2022 presidential race heats up in the coming months.
Macron stood neck-a-neck with far-right leader Marine Le Pen in an opinion poll published in October. The French president has reportedly complained that the pace of inoculations was “not worthy of the moment or of the French people” and said the situation “must change quickly and notably,” Le Journal du Dimanche reported earlier this month. The president’s office was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC on Monday.
Red tape has been the main reason for the delays. Citizens have had to get a pre-vaccination consultation and get consent from their doctor before a jab. “What I find striking about the French strategy is that public officials did not pay much attention to logistics, to the nitty-gritty,” Jeremy Ghez, Professor at H.E.C. Paris Business School, told CNBC via email. Reports from the country also suggest there is high anti-vaccine sentiment across the population, when compared to other nations.
France’s Health Minister Olivier Veran initially suggested that the careful distribution was taking into account the concerns regarding the vaccine among the general population. An Ipsos poll published in late December showed that only 40% of French people had plans to get the coronavirus vaccine.
But the French government now wants to reverse the situation by simplifying the process. France’s Veran said that people aged 75 and over will be able to make an appointment on the internet or by phone in order to be vaccinated.
France’s slow vaccine rollout could harm President Macron’s chances of re-election, CNBC, Jan 11