France urges more COVID jabs against variant threats

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The French government on Tuesday called for more people to get their COVID shots after a slowdown in reservations, and before the more contagious Delta variant of the virus becomes dominant.

"We have the doses, we're organised, we can't miss this chance," a health ministry spokeswoman said at a weekly press conference.

"There are 300,000 slots available in the next three days for people to get their first injection," she said.

France is racing to inoculate as many people as possible as it emerges from a third coronavirus lockdown, hoping to avoid the sharp rise in infections from the variant first detected in India that hit Britain and other countries.

Having achieved its target of 20 million initial doses injected in mid-May, France now aims to have 40 million first jabs administered by the end of August, and 66 percent of adults over 18 completely vaccinated.

Jabs are now available to all aged 12 and over, and are mobilising to make sure vaccinations continue over the summer holiday season.

"It's not because those close to you are vaccinated that you should think it's OK to wait until you're back from vacation to do so yourself," the spokeswoman said.

Over 32 million people have received at least one dose, according to the most recent ministry figures, or just under 48 percent of the population.

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