Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines were packaged for the first time on French soil on Wednesday in a move hailed by President Emmanuel Macron as an important step as the country seeks to ramp up its vaccination campaign.
French pharmaceutical subcontracting firm Delpharm on Wednesday started packing the vaccines into vials to be delivered to centres for distribution.
“It begins concretely from today with the first BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines produced on the Delpharm site at Saint-Rémy-sur-Avre” north of Paris, said Macron on Twitter. “250 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines made in France in 2021: that’s our objective,” he added.
250 millions de doses de vaccins Covid-19 produites en France en 2021 : voilà notre objectif.
Cela commence concrètement dès aujourd’hui avec les premiers vaccins BioNTech-Pfizer produits sur le site Delpharm de Saint-Rémy-sur-Avre : bravo à toutes les équipes !
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 7, 2021
The vaccines were made in BioNTech’s factory in Germany and were delivered on Tuesday to France for packaging and distribution.
They are not destined just for France, with Delpharm telling AFP the country would receive its proportion of allocated doses among EU states, set at around 15 percent.
Employees at the Delpharm factory at Saint-Rémy-sur-Avre said production had ramped up in recent months with the company employing around 60 additional workers at the site, a welcome development in the northern French town.
Another company will begin filing Moderna vaccines in central France in a few days, with the Johnson & Johnson and CureVac vaccines to follow soon after.
French authorities have been criticised for the slow vaccine rollout in the country, with 14.2 percent of French people having received one or more doses, compared with 60.1 percent of Britons.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)