The health ministry said on Tuesday that all new deliveries to France of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines provided by contract with the laboratory have now been transferred to donations in developing countries.
“We have stopped deliveries to give doses directly to charities,” the ministry explained during an online press briefing on the vaccination campaign.
This week “approximately 1 million doses of AstraZeneca” should be distributed, which will be “100% directed to Covax”, a representative from the International Solidarity Tool, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, added.
4.5 million doses from the Anglo-Swedish laboratory expected in August will know a single destination. The AstraZeneca vaccine, which uses viral vector technology, has been in use in the campaign since early February. But its use was restricted to people over the age of 55 because of very rare but serious side effects.
These reports have led to the relative dissatisfaction of the population for this vaccine, resulting in a dose utilization rate significantly lower than for RNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna).
As of July 12, the Covax system, which was supposed to guarantee equal access to anti-Covid vaccines for both wealthy and disadvantaged countries, had distributed more than 102 million doses of vaccines in 135 countries.
Since April, France has “sold approximately 5 million doses through Covax”, with “a gradual increase in donations”, Bercy’s representative said: 100,000 doses in April, 500,000 in May, 2.5 million in June and “approximately 5 million doses in April”. 3.5 million” expected in July.
“It will continue to grow in the coming weeks and months”, he said, indicating in particular that France “wants to be able to deliver vaccines to Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson before the end of the summer”.