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France extends COVID-19 vaccination to 12-18 year olds

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FILE Photo: A girl gets a Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, June 2, 2021.
FILE Photo: A girl gets a Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, June 2, 2021.   -   Copyright  Andreea Alexandru/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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French teenagers aged 12-18 will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination from June 15, President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday.

The announcement comes as France hit a vaccination milestone on Wednesday, with 50% of the adult population inoculated with a first dose.

"Today we will pass the symbolic mark of 50% of adults having received a first injection," government spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters earlier on Monday at a regular press briefing.

But Macron also warned that the French should remain "extremely cautious" as coronavirus indicators deteriorated in southwestern regions.

The deterioration was "particularly marked in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques" and "to a lesser extent in Charente-Maritime, Lot-et-Garonne, Charente, Landes and Gironde" areas, Attal said.

He warned against relaxing measures too early.

Teens vaccinations elsewhere in Europe

The EU regulator authorised Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12 last week.

Other EU countries have already extended their vaccination campaign to teens.

Romania on Wednesday started administering COVID-19 vaccines to teenagers aged 12 to 15

Italy on Monday approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot to 12-15-year-olds.

Germany plans to offer a first jab to children aged 12-16 from June 7, while Poland would start inoculating those aged 12-15 the same day.

But the vaccination of children in rich countries while many parts of the still struggle to innoculate older and more vulnerable people has sparked controversy.

The World Health Organisation has urged affluent nations to donate doses to the COVAX scheme instead.