CategoryFrance

French study of over 22m people finds vaccines cut severe Covid risk by 90%

F

Vaccination reduces the risk of dying or being hospitalised with Covid-19 by 90%, a French study of 22.6 million people over the age of 50 has found.

The research published on Monday also found that vaccines appear to protect against the worst effects of the most prevalent virus strain, the Delta variant.

“This means that those who are vaccinated are nine times less at risk of being hospitalised or dying from Covid-19 than those who have not been vaccinated,” the epidemiologist Mahmoud Zureik, who oversaw the research, told Agence France-Presse.

The study – the largest of its kind so far – was carried out by Epi-Phare a scientific group set up by France’s health system, its national health insurance fund, l’Assurance Maladie (CNAM), and the country’s ANSM medicines agency.

Researchers compared 11.3 million vaccinated over-50s with the same number of unvaccinated from the same age group between 27 December 2020, when vaccinations began in France, and 20 July this year.

They found “a reduction in the risk of hospitalisation superior to 90%” from the 14th day after the second dose and a similar reduction in the number of deaths from Covid-19. Similar findings have previously been published in Israel, the UK and the US.

The vaccines’ effectiveness in combatting the most serious symptoms of Covid did not diminish during the five-month period of the study, they said. The results were the same no matter whether the patient was given the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/11/french-study-vaccines-cut-covid-deaths

France to double Covid vaccine doses for poorer countries

F

France will double the number of vaccine doses it will send to poorer countries to 120 million, President Emmanuel Macron pledged on Saturday, in a video broadcast during the Global Citizen concert in Paris.

“The injustice is that in other continents, obviously, vaccination is very late,” he said. “We have to go faster, stronger.

“France pledges to double the number of doses it is giving,” he added. “We will pass from 60 million to 120 million doses offered.”

That amounted to more than the doses so far administered in France, he said.

On Wednesday, the United States announced that it would be doubling its donation of vaccine doses, bringing its total contribution to 1.1 billion.

President Joe Biden described the pandemic as an “all-hands-on-deck crisis,” adding “we need other high-income countries to deliver on their own ambitions”.

The European Union has committed to distributing 500 million doses.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210925-france-to-double-covid-vaccine-doses-for-poorer-countries

France to donate 10 million vaccines to Africa over three months

F

France will send 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa over the next three months, the French presidency said in a statement on Monday.

The vaccines will be allocated and distributed through the African Union’s Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and Covax. AVAT is a means of enabling group purchases of vaccines by AU members to help them meet at least 50 percent of their needs.

At a conference in Berlin last week, African leaders renewed calls for vaccine equity.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said it was unfair that richer countries had vaccinated nearly their entire adult populations while poorer countries struggled to buy vaccines.

Africa has administered the least vaccines of any continent. Only 2% of Africa’s population of 1.2 billion is fully vaccinated.

https://www.africanews.com/2021/08/30/france-to-donate-10-million-vaccines-to-africa-over-three-months/

France is back: Borders reopen to American tourists, others

F

After “a very bad year,” Paris tour operator Marc Vernhet sees a ray of light with the promised return of tourists from the United States and elsewhere who are welcome in France as of Wednesday if they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

His agency, 2CVParisTour.com, is starting to get bookings again from Americans for its sightseeing tours conducted in quirky, bug-eyed Citroen cars. June is still very lean, but July is looking better, Vernhet said as France took the first steps toward rebuilding its position as a top destination for foreign tourists.

Before the pandemic, Vernhet ran three or four tours of the capital per day. The work dried up when France locked down, and he’s only doing around three tours per week now, nearly exclusively for French visitors. Vernhet hailed the reopening of France’s borders for vaccinated tourists as “excellent news” but said it is going to take a few more weeks for business to pick up and that “I’m not expecting to work correctly before mid-July.”

“We’ve been waiting for this for months and months,” he said.

To be allowed in for tourism, Americans and other visitors from most countries outside of Europe will need to show that they have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus with vaccines approved by the European Union’s medicines agency.

France’s acceptance of only the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines means tourism isn’t immediately coming back from the lucrative markets of China and Russia, which use vaccines not approved by the European Medicines Agency.

Without one of the those four vaccines, most non-EU visitors will still need to prove that they have a compelling reason to visit France and must quarantine on arrival.

But European visitors and those from a handful of low-risk countries are being welcomed back with open arms, even if they are not vaccinated. These so-called “green” countries include Japan, South Korea and Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, Lebanon and Israel. All EU countries as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are also “green.” Vaccinated tourists from these countries can waltz right in; the unvaccinated need a recent negative test.

“Treat yourself, reserve now,” France’s tourism minister, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, said in a video message Wednesday.

https://apnews.com/article/france-europe-coronavirus-vaccine-coronavirus-pandemic-lifestyle-5a3e32a35f13c90ba0b8b75967216c80

French Covid infections slow as vaccinations open up to all ages

F

New Covid-19 infections in France have dropped to the lowest rate in a year, with the government banking on a stepped-up vaccination drive to bring the epidemic under control. From Wednesday, all adults, regardless of age or health status, are allowed to be vaccinated, if they can find an appointment within 24 hours.

“Today the evolution of the epidemic is rather favourable. The downward trend is clear. I am vigilant and I am optimistic,” Prime Minister Jean Castex told France 2 television on Tuesday, after health ministry data showed the number of new coronavirus infections increased 2.11 per cent this week, compared to last week, the the slowest pace since June 2020.

Covid hospitalisations are falling, down 638 to 25,028, with 4,743 patients in intensive care units.

Castex said the numbers show the situation in France is improving, and the government is hoping increased vaccinations will continue the trend.

https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20210512-rise-in-french-covid-cases-slows-as-vaccinations-open-anyone-finds-an-appointment

Covid 3rd wave peak in France ‘appears to be behind us’: PM

C

The peak of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in France “appears to be behind us”, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday, announcing that travel restrictions will be relaxed from early next month.

He told reporters there had been a “genuine fall in the circulation of the virus over the last 10 days”, confirming that restrictions confining people to a 10-kilometre (six-mile) radius of their homes would be dropped from May 3.

France is currently under its third lockdown to stem the coronavirus but this time it has been considerably more relaxed than the previous ones, with outdoor activities encouraged to promote mental health.

Most non-essential shops have been closed, however, along with cafes, restaurants and also cultural venues, with players in many sectors piling pressure on the government for a reopening after months of closure.

Castex said “shops, certain cultural and sporting activities and the cafe terraces” could reopen “around mid-May”, depending on the evolution of the health situation.

He emphasised that the government could also allow reopenings on a regional basis starting with those areas with lower virus prevalence.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210422-covid-3rd-wave-peak-in-france-appears-to-be-behind-us-pm

European regulator says Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is ‘safe and effective’

E

The European Union’s medicines agency has said the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is “safe and effective” to use following an investigation into reports of blood clots in a small number of recipients.

The decision by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) comes after more than a dozen European countries – including Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, France and Sweden – halted the vaccine’s rollout over clotting fears.

The EMA said the benefits outweigh the risks – and the vaccine is not linked to an “overall risk” of blood clots.

However, the agency’s safety committee has also said it can’t rule out a potential link with a “small number of cases” of a rare clotting disorder occurring after the vaccination.

It has therefore recommended that governments “raise awareness” of the possible effects by including them in product information.

https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-european-regulator-says-oxford-astrazeneca-vaccine-is-safe-and-effective-12249663

Italy aims to vaccinate at least 80% of population by end of September

I

Italy said on Saturday it aimed to vaccinate at least 80% of its population by the end of September, following criticism about the slow pace of the rollout of a coronavirus vaccination campaign in one of worst-hit nations in Europe.

Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, an army general and new special commissioner for coronavirus, released a national plan to administer 500,000 doses a day at full capacity, according to a cabinet office document.

Italy has registered 101,881 deaths since the outbreak emerged in the country in February 2020, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world. It has reported 3.2 million cases of infection to date.

Some 1.95 million Italians, equal to just 3.8% of the eligible population, have been administered two jabs of vaccine so far, sparking public criticism about the slow pace of the rollout and prompting the appointment of Figliuolo.

Italy expects to receive an increasing number of vaccines, with total deliveries raising from 15.7 million doses in the first quarter to 52.5 million between April and June to a peak of 84.9 million in the third quarter, the document said.

It plans to broaden the health operators administering shots by boosting an existing agreement to employ family doctors and by using dentists, junior doctors, doctors from the Italian Sports Medicine Federation and others.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-italy-vaccines/italy-aims-to-vaccinate-at-least-80-of-population-by-end-of-september-idUSKBN2B50L0

Oxford vaccine does protect older people, Europe told

O

A single Covid vaccine dose gives high levels of protection against severe disease, even in the oldest age groups, more evidence shows.

A study on patients in two Bristol hospitals found both Pfizer BioNTech and Oxford AstraZeneca jabs prevent 80% of hospital admissions among over-80s.

Some European countries are refusing to use the Oxford jab on older groups because of a lack of convincing data.

Lead researcher Prof Adam Finn said the findings should change their minds.

France agreed to offer the vaccine, which is easier to store than the Pfizer jab, to over-65s only recently, while Germany still isn’t doing so.

“This study is much more important for non-UK countries than it is for the UK,” said Prof Finn, who is running the study at the University of Bristol.

In the UK, this age group has now been immunised, he said.

“But there are lots of doses of AstraZenena vaccine available in European countries and they are not being given to people over the age of 65 – in some countries over the age of 55 – for lack of data.

“Well here are the data… showing that you can save lives in elderly people by giving them a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and those countries need to get on and start doing that as fast as possible.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56267473

U.S. hospitalizations have been declining for more than two weeks. Newly reported cases remain below 200,000.

U

U.S. hospitalizations for Covid-19 have now been declining for more than two weeks, while newly reported cases are hovering around 150,000 after remaining above 200,000 for most of December and early January. The metrics, while declining, remain high and reported deaths, a lagging indicator, were near 4,000 again on Wednesday.

The easing of the fall surge in the U.S. has led states to begin rolling back some restrictions on businesses and daily life. But government officials and health experts around the globe continue to monitor new, highly transmissible variants, which have jolted case numbers in the U.K. and elsewhere, and led to a fresh round of restrictions. In France, officials are considering stricter measures as soon as Saturday.

www.wsj.com/livecoverage/covid-2021-01-28

screenshot 2021 01 28 at 20 59 24 orig