Jocelyn Raude, researcher in social psychology at the School of Advanced Studies in Public Health, explains to the World why, according to him, the vaccination obligation would not necessarily be an effective method to gain points of vaccination coverage in France.
Could we expect to go this far in immunization coverage?
Given the level of vaccine hesitation initially estimated in France, the vaccination campaign is rather a success in terms of figures. Even if the sanitary pass is not exempt from criticism, this extremely restrictive system partly explains this success. Our neighbors have not all done so, apart from a few countries, including Italy. The debate today is polarized between, on the one hand, this strategy of “strong incentives”, which consists in making non-vaccination socially costly, and on the other hand the objective of public health. The vaccine campaign against Covid-19 started very quickly and then slowed down when what is called the stock of hesitant was reached. If payment policies had not been introduced through the health pass, vaccination coverage would probably have capped at 65%, whereas today we are approaching 90% of the eligible population.
Is compulsory vaccination the only solution to extend vaccination coverage?
I am not sure that the obligation allows a significant jump in terms of immunization coverage. Obviously, it is possible to gain a few percentage points; data show that on compulsory vaccines for children, it rose to almost 95%. But in adults, I think we have really reached a kind of incompressible rate. It has now been about ten years that we study attitudes towards vaccination and it seems that there are between 5% and 10% opponents of vaccination, people afraid of side effects and sometimes supporting conspiracy theories. They are the last to resist. Switching to compulsory vaccination would not necessarily have more effect than the current policy, this compromise between respect for certain fundamental freedoms and the search for the public good by protecting the health of populations.
Can we consider that the 8% or so of French adults who are not vaccinated are all antivax? Are there not also people who are precarious and / or isolated from the healthcare system?
Often, it is difficult to survey these population groups because they have fewer phones than others, so it is believed that among these 8%, there is indeed a part of the population that combines social and economic factors. unfavorable: isolation, a rather rural way of life and less need to go to bars or shops. It is therefore possible to still have a small margin of maneuver on these so-called “hard to reach” populations. It is a great classic of public health. To reach somewhat isolated people, less centralized systems must be used. But this category of the population probably does not constitute the majority of the great reticent today. Rather, they are people ideologically against vaccination, not necessarily antivax. In public health, we talk about either opponents of vaccination, or hesitant, which group together many different categories. There are those who accept certain vaccines but not others, those who want conventional vaccines but not those with messenger RNA that they consider insufficiently tested, those who are not against vaccines but refuse adjuvants. Overall, what characterizes all these subgroups is their strong resistance to the idea of vaccination against Covid-19.
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