PARIS (Reuters) - People in France could start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech in the last week of December if European Union authorities approve it next week, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Wednesday.
A senior European Commission official said the EU could give its final approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as early as Dec. 23.
Castex told parliament that the vaccination campaign in France would be stepped up in January and he confirmed that the elderly would come first in the queue.
Health authorities are hoping to administer COVID vaccines to around one million people in nursing homes during January and February, and then to a further 14-15 million in the wider population between March and June.
France, which like many European countries has been battling a resurgence of the pandemic in recent weeks, has already pre-ordered 200 million doses of COVID vaccines.
Castex said he expected France would receive 1,160,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine by Dec. 30, followed by an additional 677,000 doses around Jan. 5-6 and a further 1.6 million in February.
(Reporting by Matthias Blamont, Sudip Kar-Gupta and Henri-Pierre Andre; Editing by Gareth Jones)