Towards a fourth wave? Senators advocate compulsory vaccination for 24-59 year olds

The senators explain that they focused on “the only strategy available to the public authorities to ensure effective containment of a possible rebound” in the fall.

“Act now to limit the impact”. In a report from a senatorial fact-finding mission on the Covid-19 epidemic dated Thursday, senators are alarmed at the potential arrival of a fourth wave in September in France and propose, to remedy it, the introduction of a “vaccination obligation, initially, for only the intermediate age groups” of 24-59 years.

“The mission focused on the only strategy available to the public authorities to ensure effective containment of a possible rebound: the vaccine lever, combined with a proactive screening policy”, it is written.

“Mere inducement will not be enough to achieve the required rates”

The importance of vaccination to fight Covid-19 has been raised on several occasions, especially with the arrival of the Delta variant in France, 60% more contagious than Alpha, and potentially more virulent. In projections published on Monday, the Institut Pasteur writes that with a vaccination coverage of 30% among 12-17 year olds, 70% among 18-59 year olds, and 90% among those over 60, “this fall, a significant peak in hospitalizations is possible in the absence of any measure to control the epidemic “. This knowing that the vaccination figures are well below currently.

Explaining that in this scenario, “an unvaccinated person is 12 times more likely to transmit SARS-CoV-2 than a vaccinated person,” the researchers write that “among all the measures studied, vaccination of the unvaccinated is the most effective approach to controlling the epidemic “.

It is on the basis of these models that the senators made their conclusions. Evoking “a mistrust of the vaccine solution”, the mission “notes that the current progression of the vaccination coverage of the different age groups clearly indicates that the simple incentive will not be enough to reach the rates required to dispense with restrictions on the vaccine. next fall “. In this sense, according to them, the vaccination obligation must be studied.

Why those under 60?

To explain the choice of this age group, based on models from the Institut Pasteur, the senators write that “the vast majority (over 90%) of people infected with a form of Covid-19 are people under the age of 60 “, but also that” nearly 60% of Covid-19 infections [sont] due to an individual under the age of 18 and nearly 40% to an individual between the ages of 18 and 60 ”.


, these conclusions from the graphs are wrong.

Indeed, the graphs on which parliamentarians rely are projections where different vaccination rates apply (30% / 70% / 90%) according to age groups. In this sense, it is normal that in the drawing, the over 60s are much less infected than the rest of the population because they are supposed to be 90% vaccinated. Or at the same time, that the age groups under 60 years are more contagious, it is because they are less vaccinated in this projection.

Proportion of infections and hospitalizations according to age groups and vaccination status, considering an R0 of 4 and a vaccination proportion of 30% / 70% / 90% among 12-17, 18-59 and over 60 years old © Pastor Institute

According to Geodes data, the virus is currently circulating more among those under 60 who are, as a reminder, less vaccinated in proportion than their elders. According to the latest data, the incidence rate among 10-17 year olds is 25.6 per 100,000 inhabitants, while the national average is 18.9. It is strongest among 20-29 year olds, with a rate of 35.9, then the more the age group increases, the more it decreases, and drops below the bar of 10 after 60 years.

Why the over 25s?

To explain the low age limit of this part of the selected population (24-59 years), the senators speak of “encouraging figures concerning the number of people under 24 who have already received a first dose of vaccine (58% ) “. It is not clear where this figure comes from, but it does not match current data.

The Vaccine Tracker platform noted that as of June 28, only 41.6% of 18-24 year olds had received a first dose. Data concerning 12-17 year olds are still weak, in particular because vaccination has recently been opened to them. It is therefore logical to think that the vaccination rate in this age group is well below 58%, and even 41%.

As part of its projections, the Institut Pasteur notes that “due to low vaccination coverage, children and adolescents represent roughly half of infections while they cover only 22% of the population. they are at the origin of about half of the transmissions “.

To level the circulation of the virus among the youngest, the senators recommend to “launch from the start of the school year an ambitious screening strategy”. “A proactive screening policy would constitute an effective complement to vaccination as a containment measure for the fourth wave to come, without threatening school attendance,” they explain.

Compulsory vaccination on the table

Still within the framework of vaccination, the senators also propose to implement a policy of “going towards”, in order to be able to reach all populations, in particular the most affected. It is also recommended to “relaunch the ‘test / trace / isolate’ strategy that really allows the chains of transmission to be traced”.

The senators wish, to study these questions and prevent an epidemic rebound in September, “the urgent referral to the High Council of Public Health and the National Health Conference”.

The possibility of a compulsory vaccine was put on the table several times when the vaccine arrived in France, but each time was ruled out. It has recently been considered again by the government, according to information from BFMTV on Thursday. Jean Castex indeed plans to potentially apply it to caregivers at the start of the school year, and why not “more widely”.

While less than 50% of the French population said they were in favor of vaccination this winter, in an Odoxa-Backbone consulting poll published this Thursday for franceinfo and Le Figaro, 58% of those polled said they were in favor of compulsory vaccination. According to the latest figures on Thursday, 50.6% of the French population has so far received at least a first dose of vaccine, and 34.5% has a complete vaccination schedule.

Salome Vincendon

Salome Vincendon BFMTV reporter

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