All adults in France will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines starting from May 31, two weeks earlier than an initial schedule for June 15, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday.
"We have decided to speed up vaccination...Not a single dose should be wasted," Castex said while visiting a vaccination center near Paris.
"Health indicators continue to improve. The incidence rate and the number of patients in intensive care continue to decrease. In order to consolidate this improvement even more, it's necessary to vaccinate...We need to have the highest possible vaccination rate and it is within our reach," he said.
More than 22 million people in France have got a first injection, or 42 percent of the adult population. Some 9.42 million people have received both shots, meaning that 17.9 percent of those aged over 18 have completed their inoculation, data from Health Ministry showed.
On Thursday, France counted 3,769 people with COVID-19 in intensive care units, down by 93 from a day before. The overall number of hospitalized patients fell by 597 to 20,750.
These two key indicators to evaluate the health system's capacity to address the sanitary crisis continued to decrease for the second straight week, offering relief to the government, which targets a return to normal life by the end of June.
Under the government's current plan to gradually relax the confinement measures, starting from Wednesday, a maximum of six people per table are allowed to be served on restaurant and cafe terraces. Museums, theaters, cinemas and sports facilities can now reopen to a maximum of 800 people indoors and 1,000 outdoors.