All new deliveries to France of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccines provided for in the contract with the laboratory are now intended for donations to developing countries. “We stopped deliveries so as to direct doses to donations”, explained the Ministry of Health, Tuesday, July 20, during an online press briefing on the vaccination campaign.
This week, “Approximately 1 million doses of AstraZeneca” must be delivered, which will be “100% signposted to Covax”, the international solidarity mechanism, added a representative of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance. The 4.5 million doses from the Anglo-Swedish laboratory expected in August will know the same destination.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which uses viral vector technology, has been in use in the French countryside since early February. But its use was quickly restricted to those over 55 due to very rare but serious side effects. These reports led to a relative disaffection of the population for this vaccine, resulting in rates of use of doses significantly lower than those of RNA vaccines (from Pfizer and Moderna).
Pfizer donations “before the end of the summer”
As of July 12, the Covax system, which was supposed to guarantee equitable access, to rich and disadvantaged countries alike, to anti-Covid vaccines, had distributed more than 102 million doses of vaccines in 135 countries.
Since April, France has “Sold nearly 5 million doses via Covax”, with “A gradual increase in donations”, underlined the representative of Bercy: 100,000 doses in April, 500,000 in May, 2.5 million in June and “Nearly 3.5 million” expected in July.
“It will continue to increase in the weeks and months to come”, he added, adding in particular that France “Wishes to be able to give Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines before the end of the summer”.