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French labs to start producing Moderna, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines

Christian Fernsby |
French vaccineA French lab will start producing Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine in March, while another will begin making the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech in April, Industry Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher said Wednesday.

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President Emmanuel Macron pledged Tuesday that four sites on French soil would begin making coronavirus vaccines soon, as his government draws sharp criticism over the slow pace of its inoculation drive.

French pride has also taken a hit after its pharma giant Sanofi said its Covid-19 vaccine would not be ready until later this year.

"Production at the first site will begin in March for the Moderna vaccine," at a lab operated by Recipharm, Pannier-Runacher told RTL radio.

"We'll then have a production site running in April for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine," she said.

"And in May, we should be producing the CureVac vaccine, for which we are awaiting approval," the minister added, referring to the German biotech firm that could start French production at a lab owned by Fareva.

Separately, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Russia's Sputnik V vaccine could be used in France as long as it meets "scientific norms" and European "standards".

"If Sputnik is confirmed and approved by the European Medicines Agency and France's top health authority, there will be no impediment to its distribution," he told Europe 1 radio.

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