France has met its target of administering 20 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, days before restaurants terraces and museums were due to open as part of an easing of restrictions.
President Emmanuel Macron confirmed on Saturday that a third of the population had received at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine, as the government moves to boost its inoculation campaign ahead of the summer.
“It’s a very important moment for the entire country, because it supports our prospects for ending this crisis,” said Prime Minister Jean Castex at a mass vaccination centre at Porte de Versailles, in the south of Paris.
The government had set a goal of vaccinating 20 million people – nearly 30 percent of the population – with at least their first dose by mid-May, followed by 30 million in mid-June.
Health authority figures published Friday showed more than 8.7 million people, or 13 percent of the population, had received two vaccine doses.
Meanwhile the number of patients in intensive care units continued to fall Friday to 4,400 – well below the peak of 6,000 critically ill patients during the third virus wave that began in March.
On Wednesday, cinemas, theatres and non-essential shops will reopen with limited capacity, while a nationwide curfew will be pushed back to 9pm.