The French government on Wednesday faced criticism due to the ‘slow progress’ of its COVID-19 vaccination drive, AFP reported. This comes amid reports of skepticism about the campaign in the popular imagination.

On Sunday, France launched its vaccination drive, with elderly residents in care homes being the first in the country to receive the Pfizer-BionTech jab.

However, in the first three days of the drive, less than 100 people have received jabs. In comparison, Germany, which began its drive on the same day as other EU nations including France, has already given jabs to over 40,000 people. 

France’s strategy “is not suited to a situation that is so dangerous,” Axel Kahn, a geneticist who heads the National League against Cancer said to Europe 1 radio, as per AFP reports.

According to Kahn, the government should focus on persuading people who are wary of the vaccine with “transparency and enthusiasm”.

“We need to protect the French people and those who are vulnerable,” he added, noting that frontline workers should be given priority in this process. 

Philippe Juvin, emergency services chief at Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris, has said that there appears to be no national “vaccine strategy” in France.

“As an individual, I would like to be vaccinated, to set an example, and show people that we don’t die from the vaccine, we die from Covid. And when we don’t die, we get severe forms which are very disabling,” Philippe Juvin, emergency services chief at Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris, told CNews TV channel, as per AFP reports.

He added that there seems to be a lack of national ‘vaccine strategy’, which further compounds the problem.

In a poll on vaccine consent conducted by Ipsos Global Advisor in partnership with the World Economic Forum,  it was found that only 40% of those in France want to receive the vaccine on their own will.

According to AFP, Health Minister Olivier Veran defended the ‘more measured pace’ in France while speaking on television on Tuesday.