The historic grounds of the Stade de France football stadium in Paris opened its gates on Tuesday to a different kind of hopeful — scattered — crowd, lined up to get their vaccinations against the novel coronavirus.
With the kickstarting of the vaccine campaign in the largest center in France, Prime Minister Jean Castex assured an “accelerated change.”
“We change the scale of 10,000 people who could be vaccinated per week,” Castex told reporters outside the venue. The country is set to receive more than 12 million vaccine doses in April, which will enable it to further hasten its inoculation drive. Vaccines are also being administered since last month at the Stade Velodrome football stadium in the southern city of Marseille.
Precautionary measures and vaccinations will make it possible to overcome the crisis, Castex declared, referring to the outbreak. France is currently experiencing the peak of its third wave, with increasing numbers of daily infections, deaths and admissions to intensive care units.
On Tuesday, 409 deaths were recorded in hospitals, raising total fatalities to 97,273. The number of new cases was significantly lower at 8,045, while hospitals admitted some 2,459 patients to intensive care units over 24 hours.
Data from the Directorate-General of Health said 275,772 vaccine doses had been administered at the end of the day. In total, over 12.7 million jabs had been made since the start of the vaccination campaign on Dec. 27, with 9.5 million people having gotten one shot and 3.2 million with the full double dose.
In comparison, in the neighboring UK, more than 31.6 million people have gotten the first dose and 5.4 million are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the family of a 63 year old man who died within two weeks of receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, has filed a complaint for “manslaughter” in a court in Annecy. According to local media reports, doctors detected blood clots in his liver, kidneys and brain, which some suspect could have been related to the vaccine, though investigations are ongoing.
Last month, France briefly suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine, alongside other European countries, over fears that it is related to the post-inoculation blood clotting. Jabs of the vaccine resumed after a green light from the European Medicines Agency and World Health Organization investigation.