France returns to 3 weeks between COVID-19 vaccine shots

The country has registered 3.1 million cases of the virus

France abandoned plans to space out coronavirus vaccinations by six weeks instead of three.

Health Minister Olivier Veran announced maintaining the time between two injections of the Pfizer vaccine at 21 to 28 days, which is in line with WHO recommendations.

Alain Fisher, president of the scientific committee advising the government on vaccines, says the effects of a longer gap between injections remain unclear and the first shot only provides limited immunity.

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He says spacing out injections could be risky at a time when France faces growing COVID-19 hospitalizations and fast-spreading new virus variants.

In early January, French Prime Minister Jean Castex had announced extending the time between shots to six weeks to allow more people to get the initial shot.

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France has registered 3.1 million cases and reported 445 new deaths Monday, bringing the total at least 73,494 confirmed deaths.