PARIS, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- A 78-year-old woman received the first dose of vaccine in France on Sunday morning, marking the start of the vaccination campaign in the west European country.
The woman was a former housekeeper and now resident of the long-term care unit of a hospital in north Paris.
"Ca va (I am fine). Perfect," said the elderly woman, as images on BFM TV showed, after receiving the vaccine and applauded by caregivers in a hospital in Sevran, Seine-Saint-Denis, a department which has paid a heavy price for the epidemic.
"We have a new weapon against the virus: the vaccine," tweeted President Emmanuel Macron minutes after the vaccination campaign officially kicked off.
"The vaccine will not be compulsory. Let us have confidence in our researchers and doctors. We are the land of the Enlightenment and the Pastor, reason and science must guide us," he added.
Only 40 percent of French people surveyed say "they certainly or probably want to be vaccinated," according to the weekly epidemiological update of Public Health France published on Thursday evening.
The French government has planned a gradual roll-out plan to invite citizens, on a voluntary basis and free of charge, to receive COVID-19 vaccine.
The authorities are aiming to have 1 million people, among the oldest and most vulnerable, vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of February in the country's 7,000 nursing homes and related facilities.
To date, France has reported more than 2.6 million cases and over 62,000 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.