Former President Nicolas Sarkozy, 66, took the first dose of the new coronavirus vaccine in January at the Percy de Clamart military hospital, in the western suburbs of Paris. The revelation was made by the magazine L’Express and is in the spotlight in all the French press this Thursday 18.
The former conservative president, who has frequently criticized the vaccination strategy of Emmanuel Macron’s government, walked past many priority people who are still in line for the injection. To date, only French people over 75, health professionals and people suffering from co-morbidities can be vaccinated in the country.
“Why Nicolas Sarkozy, who turned 66 on January 28, has already received the first dose of the immunizer?” Asks the magazine.
The ex-president’s team, contacted by L’Express, declined to comment. Former heads of state are not considered a priority, and François Hollande, who is also 66, has not yet received the vaccine, the press said.
Criticisms of the government’s strategy
The vaccination campaign in France began, as in all the countries of the European Union, in the last week of December. The first doses were reserved in priority for residents of nursing homes and health professionals in these establishments. Since January 18, vaccination has been open to all people over the age of 74 and to health professionals over 50.
Even so, there are still not enough doses, the waiting list is long, and even priority people spend hours trying to make an appointment for a first injection. The government promises to vaccinate the entire population by the end of the summer in France, in September.
L’Express recalls that the slowness of the campaign and the lack of doses have been the subject of frequent criticism from Sarkozy in recent weeks. “Can you believe it? They are canceling the appointments for the second dose of the vaccine,” said the former president, who calls for rapid authorization from Russian vaccinator Sputnik V. He also advocates the creation of “vaccinodromes”.
Since last year, Sarkozy has been the subject of an investigation by the National Office of the Financial Prosecutor (PNF) for suspicion of “trading in influence” and “concealing a crime or an offense” in the as part of its consultancy activities in Russia. On March 1, the former head of state must know the sentence of a trial that took place in December, during which the prosecution requested four years of imprisonment against him, including two in open regime.
As of February 17, more than 3 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine had been administered in France, with more than 923,000 people receiving a second injection.