Macron crisis: French vaccine bungle could hit president with humiliating election defeat

Macron and France 'are failing' on vaccine rollout says Moutet

Unlike other neighbouring countries who have vaccinated hundreds of thousands of people, France has only issued the vaccination to more than 80,000 as of Friday. But the vaccination rollout could hurt Mr Macron’s chances of re-election.

Jessica Hinds, a European economist at Capital Economics, said: “Although the 2022 presidential election still seems a long way off, President Macron is certainly worried that a poorly-executed vaccine rollout now will harm his chances of winning another term.

“A slow pace of vaccination would limit the government’s ability to lift restrictions that are taking their toll on the economy and people’s daily lives.

“This would clearly be unpopular among (French) voters, particularly if other countries such as Germany are able to remove them sooner.”

The pace of the vaccine rollout has been criticised by the French president who said it was “not worthy of the moment or of the French poll” and said the situation “must change quickly and notably”.

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It is believed the delay to inoculations was due to red tape and citizens have had to get a pre-vaccination consultation and get consent from their doctor before a jab.

Jeremy Ghez, professor at H.E.C Paris Business School, told CNBC: “The French economy is under anaesthesia and it’s only when you pull the fiscal plug that you will truly know how quickly economic actors can rebound.

“If this happens quickly, I like Macron’s chances because there are so few alternatives as of today.

“If it does not, I would argue that all bets are off.”

Last week, the opposition party leader, Marine le Pen, criticised Mr Macron after figures revealed staggeringly low numbers of vaccinated people.

She tweeted: “We are ‘at war’ against the virus, according to Macron and yet the government is unable to put in place simple logistics.

“Our vaccination campaign is the laughing stock of the developed world!”

MEP Jordan Bardella – who contracted the virus in November – also lashed out at the French government.

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He said last week: “Germany is setting up 400 large vaccination centres and wee vaccinated in one week the same number that the Germans vaccinate in third minutes.

“They have failed on masks, border controls […] and now we vaccinate 450 people in seven days.

“It’s a disgrace.

“We are facing a logistical problem.

“Those who wish to be vaccinated must be able to do so, we must be able to set up large vaccination centres.

“Where is the Minister of Health?”

Another MEP, Thierry Mariani also tweeted: “November 29: Macron tells us he’s got everything ready for vaccination.

“January 3: Nothing works, but it’s not his fault.

“The first quality of a leader is to take responsibility.

“With Macron, weirdly… it’s always someone else’s fault.”

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