French Government Faces Backlash Over Slow COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

french government faces backlash over slow covid 19 vaccine rollout

A nurse administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the hospital Hotel-Dieu in … [+] Paris, on January 2, 2021 as part of a vaccination campaign for healthcare workers aged 50 years and more. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP) (Photo by SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images) AFP via Getty Images

As governments around the world ramp up their COVID vaccination programs, French officials are struggling to explain why their own efforts are lagging so far behind. Over the weekend, the government announced plans to accelerate vaccinations but the strategies only seemed to stoke the backlash.

According to a EuroNews report on Sunday, France had only vaccinated 352 people compared to 1.1 million in Israel and more than 1 million in the U.K. By Sunday, that number was up to 516. For the past several days, various hashtags related to France’s vaccination situation were trending on Twitter as people expressed their incredulity over the puny number of vaccines that had been administered.

On Monday, that included Jean Rottner, who is president of the Grand Est region as well as a doctor. In an interview, Rottner declared the apparent lack of preparation a “scandal.”

“It destroys me, such lack of preparation,” he said. “It’s a state scandal.”

Compounding the problem is that the excuses given by the government seem to suggest that the slow place was intentional so as not to provoke fear among a population that seemed reluctant to be vaccinated. Several polls since the summer have indicated that as many as 62% of the population did not want the vaccine, either because of general anti-vaxx sentiments or concerns that the COVID vaccines had not been sufficiently tested.

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