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The French government has called on regional police prefects and health directors to speed up the Covid-19 vaccination of asylum seekers and refugees, reiterating its goal set for the end of August.

In a communiqué signed by the Minister of Health Olivier Véran and the Minister for Citizenship Marlène Schiappa on Tuesday, residents of migrant workers' hostels and people accommodated in the national reception scheme (DNA) have lesser vaccination coverage than the rest of the population in France.

"Despite major efforts made by national operators, there are still obstacles to [rolling out] vaccinations", the ministers wrote, mentioning in particular the language barrier and the lack of computer equipment available in homes and centres to make appointments online. 

To speed up the campaign, the government is asking prefects and regional health agencies (ARS) to give priority to the "most effective" measures, allowing "in situ vaccination", such as the deployment of mobile vaccination centres or mobile vaccination teams.

August deadline

In the coming weeks, the medical services of the French Office for Immigration and Integration may also be authorised as vaccination centres for this public.

Regarding the current vaccination coverage of people staying at refugee reception centres, Marlène Schiappa's entourage said that the data was not readily available because the managers of these hubs "do not communicate them in real time."

Prefects and ARS directors will also have to organise an update by the end of August to report to the government on the progress of Covid vaccination campaigns in their departments.

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