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France to extend gap between mRNA vaccine shots, minister says

·1 min read

PARIS, April 11 (Reuters) - France will lengthen the period between the first and second shots of mRNA anti-COVID vaccines to six weeks from four weeks as of April 14 to accelerate the inoculation campaign, Health Minister Olivier Veran told the JDD newspaper on Sunday.

"That will allow us to vaccinate more quickly without reducing protection," Veran told the paper.

France has approved use of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines.

Veran also said that from Monday the AstraZeneca vaccine would be made available to all over-55s and not just those with serious pre-existing conditions.

After a glacial start, France's vaccine rollout is finding its stride but daily new COVID-19 infections still average around 40,000 and the country will almost certainly cross the 100,000 deaths threshold this week.

Veran said there were signs that a third nationwide lockdown imposed last weekend was beginning to slow the infection rate.

"It remains very high," Veran told the JDD. "We can expect that after the period of stabilisation comes the fall. But for that, we must keep going." (Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Daniel Wallis)