France starts packaging Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vax


In a boost to the Covid-19 vaccination campaign at home and in Europe, French subcontractor Delpharm started packaging Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in its plant in Saint-Remy-sur-Avre.

President Emmanuel Macron tweeted on Wednesday that the country’s goal is “250 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines” in 2021 and “it begins today with the first BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines” in the Delpharm site, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Strengthening of health systems, better distribution of vaccine production capacities thanks to technology transfers, transparency of contracts, sharing of doses: an increase in power is essential for collective security in the face of the risks of variants,” he said.

“As long as the virus circulates and evolves, no one is safe,” Macron warned, calling for “a coordinated and united response, on a global scale” to contain the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed 97,722 lives in France, the heaviest death toll in Europe after the UK and Italy.

The vaccines packaged in France were made in BioNTech’s factory in Germany.

Some 1,700 vaccination centres have been opened across France and 250,000 health professionals are mobilised to ramp up the vaccine rollout, which will be open to people aged between 60 and 70 in mid-April.

The government aims to extend vaccination to those aged between 50 and 60 next month, followed by people under 50 from June 15, and all adults who want to be inoculated by the end of the summer.

To date, about 9.8 million people in France have been given the first shots of a coronavirus vaccine, representing 18.7 per cent of the adult population, according to the Health Ministry.

France has approved the use of four vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.