By Wednesday evening only 332 people had received the vaccine according to health ministry officials. The ministry has said the aim is to vaccinate 1 million elderly and at-risk people in January, requiring more than 31,200 vaccinations every day.
The health minister, Olivier Véran, admitted France was vaccinating more slowly than other countries and suggested this was a deliberate policy to enable an information campaign – rather than the result of a lack of vaccines or a logistical failure.
“We have the same number of vaccine doses as our German neighbours, we have the same aims and we will have the same results,” Véran told French television. “It’s taking a while to get off the ground … I don’t confuse speed with haste,” he added.
The president, Emmanuel Macron, and ministers have promised the vaccine will not be obligatory and officials have assured the public there will be no list compiled of those who refuse to have the Covid-19 jab.
However, Macron said people should be guided by “reason and science”. “The vaccine is not obligatory. Have confidence in our scientists and doctors,” he said.