French President Emmanuel Macron has admitted flaws in the country’s vaccination campaign and vowed to speed up the launch, days after the government was forced to impose new coronavirus restrictions to contain a wave of Covid-19 in the country.
“We were not fast enough, strong enough,” Macron told Greek television channel ERT on Wednesday, in a rare admission of failure regarding Europe’s vaccination efforts.
“We were not aiming as much at the stars as at others. I think it should be a lesson for all of us. We are wrong by lacking ambition, lacking madness, saying, ‘It’s possible, let’s do it,’ “Macron said.
“You can give it to the Americans, already in the summer of 2020 they said: let’s do everything we can and do it. They had more ambition than us, “he said in the interview,” we didn’t‘I don `t believe [the production of a vaccine] it would happen so fast. “
And he added: “All, all the experts said: Never in the history of mankind was a vaccine developed in less than a year.”
On Tuesday, the French president declared the vaccination campaign a “national priority”, vowing to put the launch at the center of the country’s Covid-19 battle.
As of Monday, 9.3% of the total French population had been partially vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.
Last week, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced new coronavirus restrictions in 16 regions, including the metropolitan areas of Paris and Nice, as the country tries to contain a third wave of infections.
Outdoor social gatherings of more than six people are now illegal in France, as part of efforts to contain the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, an Interior Ministry spokeswoman told CNN on Thursday.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told police chiefs on Wednesday to “be strict” with the rule of six, particularly in the 16 regions that are under lockdown, according to the spokeswoman.
The new measures, which took effect on Friday at midnight, will last at least four weeks but are less restrictive than the measures imposed in March and November last year.