August 4, 2021

“We are in a time trial, we can’t wait any longer”

What do you think of the government’s method of pushing the French to get vaccinated?

The government went there little by little, And this is a good thing. The first phase was marked by shortage management with logical prioritization rules known to all. Then the eligible audiences were gradually extended. We finally arrived in a situation where the supply exceeded the demand, a period when we have to wonder about the way in which we encourage to be vaccinated.

All kinds of campaigns have been put in place by activating known levers, such as making people aware that they are vaccinated for themselves but also for others, that Covid is certainly a disease more risky for some people, but that in reality the Long Covid can fall on anyone, etc. Despite all this, it must be noted that part of the population does not get vaccinated and faced with the emergence of the new variant, decisions had to be made.

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Public policies must reflect what the vast majority want. The majority of French people have been vaccinated or agree to be vaccinated, want a return to normal life where everyone can go out, work, study and receive normal treatment.

Was it inevitable to impose the extension of the health pass?

This would have been preventable without the expansion of the Delta variant. People who are frankly opposed to vaccination, convinced antivax people, are in a very small minority. If we give people time and educate, we end up convincing, because opposition to vaccination is much less frequent than we think. But we were caught by an ultra-contagious variant, and no one could have anticipated it. We are in a time trial and we can no longer waste time. If we want the start of the school year to go well, given that it takes six weeks to be fully immune, now is the time to act.

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Is there not a risk of radicalizing the reticent and creating bitterness in a part of the population which does not live well to be forced?

In this epidemic, there have been a number of twists and turns, so you have to be humble and tell yourself that behavior is not an exact science. We cannot know if the coercion will create “reactance”, a psychological defense mechanism triggered in situations where the individual feels that his freedom of action is threatened. One can imagine exactly the opposite.

When some vaccines are recommended and some are mandatory, there can be some sort of implicit hierarchy in our minds that recommended vaccines are less important than mandatory vaccines. This is also one of the elements that could be taken into account in the State’s decision to make certain vaccines for children compulsory. Although it is preferable to go through other channels, if the obligation were introduced, it could clarify things, and show unambiguously that the authorities of
health have absolute confidence in the fact that this vaccine is safe because we are now certain that the risks are far lower than the individual and collective benefits.

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