Macron and France 'are failing' on vaccine rollout says Moutet
Opposition leaders have been queuing up to criticise the 41-year-old, with socialist leader Olivier Faure describing the situation as “a humiliation”, while Green Party MEP Yannick Jadot lamented it as a “fiasco”. Chloe Morin, a social scientist who was an adviser to two French Prime Ministers during the time of former French President Francois Hollande, said the incumbent was in a very tight spot.
Emmanuel Macron knows the stakes are very big
She explained: “Emmanuel Macron knows the stakes are very big, because we are in the last useful year of his presidential term.
“And this is an extremely symbolic issue.
“For the past year, we have been experiencing a crisis in our decision-making methods.
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“There are many paralyses, inertia, the source of which is in the upper administration.
“For vaccines, we have been telling ourselves for ages that we should not repeat yesterday’s mistakes.”
Even though France has ordered 500,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, it was widely reported yesterday that just 500 had been administered so far.
Mr Macron held an emergency summit with Prime Minister Jean Castex and Health Minister Olivier Veran last night in a desperate bid to regain control of the situation.
Epidemiologist and government adviser Arnaud Fontanet told France Info radio: “It’s going too slowly.
“But the real deadline is to reach 5-10 million vaccinations by the end of March, because that’s the point at which you have a real impact on the spread of the virus.”
Mr Fontanet also said it would be “useful” to simplify the bureaucracy involved in the vaccination roll-out.
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Mr Macron himself has attempted to regain control of the situation, with Journal du Dimanche reporting him as having told people close to him the pace of the operation to inoculate the nation was “not worthy of the moment or of the French people”, while stressing that “things aren’t going well right now” and “must change quickly and notably”.
Speaking on New Year’s Eve, he said everyone in France should be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine if they wanted one.
However, sceptics were quick to point out Mr Macron’s wide-ranging powers as President, and his insistence in a conversation with European Council President Charles Michel in March that his country was fighting a “kinetic war” with the disease.
Mr Faure, who has been Socialist Party leader since 2018, described the apparent failure as a “humiliation for the country of Pasteur”, in reference to the pioneering scientist who was instrumental in the development of vaccine technology.
Meanwhile, Mr Jadot, who is in favour of mandatory vaccinations, said the current situation was a “fiasco for which Mr Macron was responsible.”
Jean Rottner, president of the Grand Est region and a member of the Republicans, said: “Getting vaccinated is more complicated than buying a car.”
And Jordan Bardella, spokesman for Marine Le Pen’s right-wing National Rally party, said France was “the laughing stock of the world”.
France should receive its first deliveries of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine this week, the head of the medical regulator said yesterday.
France has the seventh-highest COVID-19 casualty toll in the world, with more than 65,000 deaths.
A slow vaccination campaign risks jeopardising France’s economic recovery, something which in turn would represent a huge political problem for Mr Macron.
France’s National Academy of Medicine last week said his government was taking “excessive precautions”.
Government officials have said vaccinating in care homes was complex logistically.
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