France to open COVID-19 vaccination centers in 600 towns to boost uptake

Every French resident aged over 75 will be eligible for a coronavirus vaccination from January 18, Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced.

The broadening of the target group is part of a plan to speed up the immunization program, which began at a slower pace than France’s European neighbors.

The government says it is hoping a million people will receive their first inoculation by end-January. It also aims to have 600 vaccination centers open by that time.

The centers, located in municipal buildings like sports halls, feature a reception area, consultation rooms and separate booths for the injections.

France’s vaccination program has been plagued by logistical hold-ups and layers of bureaucracy, with the president criticizing the preparations as moving at the pace of a “Sunday stroll.”

One local mayor, who is ready to set up his own vaccination center in the next few days, said, “I think that the government has been very late when it comes to the vaccine.”

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