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France Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Wednesday that the country could start receiving the COVID-19 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the last week of December if European Union authorities approve it next week, allowing the first vaccinations to begin shortly after receiving the product and going into January.

He told parliament that the vaccine campaign would then be stepped up in January with the elderly and more vulnerable groups coming first in the queue.

The country is hoping to administer vaccines to one million people in nursing homes in January and February and then a further 14-15 million in the wider population between March and June.

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