French gov't calls on high-risk groups to get 2nd COVID-19 booster shot

PARIS, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- French government spokesperson Olivier Veran on Thursday called on high-risk groups to get another booster shot against COVID-19 ahead of the holiday season.

As former health minister, Veran told RMC-BFMTV radio that only 20 percent of high-risk groups in France have received their second booster shots amid a new wave of COVID-19 and the seasonal flu epidemic.

"If you are 60 years old and over, if you are a carrier of a disease or if you are in daily contact with fragile or elderly people, get vaccinated against COVID if you are not up-to-date with your booster shots," the former health minister said.

"It will limit the risk of complications and hospitalization," he added.

There is currently a subvariant that is spreading fast in France, he underlined. "We have an increase of more than 20 percent in intensive care units linked to COVID-19, which weakens our health system," he said.

According to French immunologist Brigitte Autran, BA.5, the subvariant of the original Omicron subvariant of COVID-19 that has been prevalent in France, has already been replaced with the BQ.1.1 subvariant.

The French public health agency announced on Thursday that almost 70,000 new cases have been reported in the past 24 hours in France.

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