Under fire, France pledges speedier vaccination rollout

France’s government is pledging to pick up the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations after being criticized for a glacially slow rollout

President Emmanuel Macron also intervened in what was becoming an increasingly sharp debate about the slow start of vaccinations against the virus in France. Macron used his traditional New Year’s address to the nation Thursday night to promise that he will personally ensure there is no unnecessary heel-dragging.

The French leader said he would not allow “an unjustified slowness, for bad reasons, to take root.”

But critics increasingly are accusing health officials of being overly cautious.

The National Academy of Medicine said the slow start “is difficult to defend.”

France has reported the virus-related deaths of more than 64,000 people since the start of the pandemic.

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