Thousands of people rushed to book vaccinations in France on Thursday after the government announced that all adults are eligible for the booster vaccination and that health passes will no longer be valid after a specified period if they do not receive it.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran said at a press conference on Thursday that France is experiencing a new wave of cases that will be “stronger and longer” than the one in the summer, but that “no isolation, no curfew, no store closings.” , no travel restrictions ”.
By focusing on vaccinations and social distancing measures, he said, “we are making a choice to combine freedom and responsibility.”
Starting this weekend, anyone 18 years of age or older will be able to receive a booster shot no earlier than five months after the second injection, Mr Veran said. Previously, the booster vaccine was only available to healthcare professionals, people at high risk for severe Covid, and people 65 and older. Mr Veran said the new announcement affected about 19 million people.
Mr Veran said that some adults who have not received the booster vaccination within seven months of the second injection will expire their passes, which will prevent access to restaurants, museums, long-distance trains and other public places if they will not be tested regularly.
He said that more than 400,000 vaccinations had been recorded on the Wednesday before his press conference.
About 70 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. But, according to French officials, the number of new daily cases of the disease in the past few days has risen to about 30,000 and has reached the prime minister. The recent surge has resulted in the closure of 8,500 classrooms, up from 4,100 last week.
Jean-Michel Blanquer, France’s Minister of Education, announced at a press conference that classes will no longer close if one of the students tests positive, but they will require all students to continue to be tested. According to him, only those with a negative test will be able to return.
The number of hospitalizations – mostly unvaccinated patients – is also on the rise, according to French health authorities.
Mr Veran also urged the French to abide by the rules and principles of social distancing. He announced that starting Friday, masks will be required indoors even for establishments or events that require a health pass, and that a pass will also be required to gain access to Christmas markets.
“We must always remain vigilant, return to good habits,” said Mr Veran.