Covid herd immunity in France possible by autumn: Official

People wait in a COVID-19 vaccination center at the National Velodrome de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.

Paris, (Asian independent)¬†Alain Fischer, coordinator of France’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign, said that the country could reach herd immunity against the virus by this autumn, calling on the still reluctant segments of the population to get vaccinated to help cope with highly transmissible Delta variant.

In an interview with RTL radio on Monday, Fisher noted that “vaccination is progressing very quickly these days”, making it possible to reach herd immunity by autumn, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The Delta variant is highly contagious and it requires an energetic vaccination campaign to achieve herd immunity,” he said.

Herd immunity is achieved when 90 per cent of the population over 12 years of age is vaccinated or protected because they have been infected.

To date, France has fully inoculated more than 35 million citizens out of around 67 million, according to the Health Ministry.

Fischer warned that “no one is safe from the serious form of infection”, noting that unvaccinated people “make up most of those” who suffer from the serious forms of the respiratory illness.

Asked whether vaccination should be mandatory, the immunologist said such move would be necessary if the virus continues to circulate and that herd immunity is still out of reach.

“It is a duty of collective protection. We are protecting people’s lives, protecting our hospital system, which can be threatened at any time by the resurgence of the pandemic,” he said.

To counter a sharp spike in Covid-19 infections, the French government has decided to make vaccination mandatory for health workers and impose the use of the “health pass” at a wider range of public places, including restaurants and cafes, shopping centres, gyms and even hospitals except for emergencies.

As of Tuesday morning, France has reported a total of 6,218,526 confirmed coronavirus cases and 112,107 deaths.