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France’s Slow Vaccine Start Sparks Early 2021 Crisis for Macron

  • Rollout falls far short of that seen in neighboring Germany
  • Vaccine skepticism, red tape are slowing delivery of shot
Doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at an elderly day center in Dijon, central France.
Doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at an elderly day center in Dijon, central France.

Photographer: Philippe Desmazes/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

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France’s coronavirus vaccinations have started far slower than in other countries, a situation President Emmanuel Macron may struggle to fix because of a vaccine-skeptical population.

Progress is being hit by administrative red tape, a lack of enough nursing staff over the year-end holidays and the fact that only the elderly in nursing homes were due to be targeted in the first stage. The government is also proving deliberately cautious, allowing a consent period between the time people sign up for the vaccine and actually receiving the shot.