The French president Emmanuel Macron’s government is to blame for France’s slow Covid-19 vaccination campaign, which has seen only 25 doses per 100 people administered compared to around 60 in the UK and US, according to exclusive new polling conducted by Redfield & Wilton for the New Statesman.
Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of voters said they were not satisfied with France’s vaccination campaign, compared to just 28 per cent who were.
Of the respondents who were unsatisfied, 46 per cent said the French government was most at fault, compared to 12 per cent who blamed the European Commission and 17 per cent the vaccine manufacturers. Just 2 per cent blamed the public, another 2 per cent the British government, and 17 per cent said they did not know.
The findings suggest that even though France has been receiving its doses through the EU’s troubled joint procurement scheme, voters ultimately ascribe responsibility for the vaccination campaign to the authority responsible for rolling out the vaccine – the French government – rather than the EU Commission, which negotiated supply. Some voters may also be blaming the government for choosing to participate in the joint procurement scheme in the first place, rather than securing doses alone.
While the figures may spell trouble for Macron, who is eyeing up the next presidential election in a year’s time, they also suggest that if distribution of the vaccine speeds up, voters might credit his government in a potential boost to his re-election hopes. The rolling seven-day average of doses administered every day in France has continued to rise, according to data collated by Our World in Data, a project at Oxford University, and now stands at over 350,000.