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French Prime Minister Jean Castex (REUTERS)
French Prime Minister Jean Castex (REUTERS)

French govt expects covid vaccine by end of this year

  • French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday the government must move fast to head off a deadly new COVID-19 wave as the virus's reproduction level has jumped
  • Europe’s leaders are struggling with how to respond to the latest developments in the pandemic

New coronavirus vaccines could be available from the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021, a presentation by French Health Minister Olivier Veran suggested on Thursday.

The European Commission said on Thursday it had signed a contract on behalf of EU states with British drugmaker AstraZeneca for the supply of at least 300 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

The move follows an advance purchase agreement signed by Brussels with AstraZeneca earlier in August.

It is the first contract signed by the EU with a maker of potential COVID-19 vaccines. The contract envisages an option to purchase 100 million additional doses to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis among the 27 EU states.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday the government must move fast to head off a deadly new COVID-19 wave as the virus's reproduction level has jumped, with infections surging in the Paris region and among young people.

France is ready to institute a new national lockdown as a last resort as Europe grapples with how to contain the resurgent coronavirus.

Plans to restrict movement are ready, but the country will do everything possible to avoid measures that clobbered the economy in the second quarter, France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday.

“The epidemic is gaining ground, and we need to intervene now," Castex said, rejecting the need for broad restrictions. “This doesn’t mean the situation is as serious as it was" earlier this year.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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