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France Decides on Third Shots but Not More Restrictions

As cases surge, officials cut gap between second and third shots to 5 months
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 25, 2021 3:28 PM CST
Updated Nov 25, 2021 3:40 PM CST
France Decides on Third Shots but Not More Restrictions
French Health Minister Olivier Veran speaks during a press conference on COVID-19 measures Thursday in Paris.   (Thomas Coex, Pool Photo via AP)

(Newser) – France launched a plan Thursday to give COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, as it opted against a further lockdown or curfew to help combat an uptick in infections in the country. Coronavirus infections have jumped in France over the past few days, with daily new cases rising above the 30,000 mark, and virus-related hospitalizations and deaths are again rising. Health Minister Olivier Veran laid out the plans during a press conference in which he announced a reduction in the time gap between second and third shots from six to five months. He said France already has enough vaccine to launch the nationwide booster campaign, the AP reports.

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Veran also laid out a swathe of measures to increase the use of masks in public areas and said that the country's COVID pass, which is required in many indoor places across the country, will become invalid if a person has not received a booster shot within seven months of a second dose. He said there are 10 times as many unvaccinated people currently hospitalized because of the virus as vaccinated people, adding that without the vaccine the country would already be in a lockdown situation.

More than 89% of adults are vaccinated, but the most vulnerable were vaccinated early in the year, so immunity is believed to be waning. Also, children under age 12 have not had access to vaccines yet in France, though that could change after the European Medicines Agency on Thursday authorized Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds. In a sign of resurgent concern about France's virus situation, Morocco is suspending all flights to and from France starting Friday. A government committee overseeing travel during the pandemic made the decision Thursday "to protect Morocco’s achievements in managing the pandemic."

(Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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