While the government plans to make the vaccination of caregivers against Covid-19 mandatory in September if the rate of 80% of vaccinated is not reached, several voices are raised to accelerate the schedule, in the race against the pandemic.
Recommended but not mandatory, then perhaps mandatory at the end of the summer, or even before … The question of the vaccination of caregivers against Covid-19, already raised in March, has stirred up the debate again since the beginning of the week. In question: the rapid progression of the delta variant and the threat of a fourth epidemic wave, coupled with still insufficient vaccination rates and a campaign that is running out of steam, and which pushes the executive to propose new measures.
Compulsory vaccination in September …
Monday, June 28, in a letter addressed to the directors of hospitals and retirement homes, the ministers of Health, Olivier Véran, and of Autonomy, Brigitte Bourguignon, indicated their desire “that at least 80%” of nursing home staff and hospitals be vaccinated against Covid-19 “by September”, failing which the government will open “the way of an obligation”. Today, only 57% of caregivers are vaccinated in nursing homes and 64% in hospitals according to the French Hospital Federation (FHF).
Tuesday, Olivier Véran reiterated on FranceInfo his threat to make vaccination “compulsory” in September for caregivers if the “work of conviction” was not sufficient during the summer and the rate of 80% of vaccinated was not is not achieved. Recalling the need to go through the law, he cited the precedents of the obligation of vaccination against hepatitis B to work in the hospital or that against yellow fever to go to Guyana.
… or sooner ?
But since Friday, the schedule seems to be tightening, the Minister of Health saying he is in favor of an entry into force of the obligation “from the month of July”. With this in mind, Prime Minister Jean Castex plans to receive from Monday the leaders of Parliament and local elected officials to discuss it. “On the calendar there is absolutely nothing fixed, and I think that anything is possible”, indicated Gabriel Attal, spokesman for the government, on LCI.
This Sunday, in a column published by the JDD, a hundred doctors take a stand and call for this calendar to be accelerated as soon as possible. Among the 96 signatories of the text, we find several department heads of the Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP), such as infectious diseases specialists Karine Lacombe and Gilles Pialoux, resuscitator Bruno Mégarbane and diabetologist Anne Gervais, but also the former director of Health public France François Bourdillon, or the former president of the deans of medical schools Jean Sibilia.
These practitioners are calling on the government “to take the decision of compulsory vaccination” for any employee of an nursing home or a hospital “(s’) exposing or exposing the people for whom it is responsible to risks of contamination” at Covid-19. In order to “avoid a fourth wave”, they ask it “to implement the necessary measures so that the application of this decision is effective before the beginning of September”.
Asked Sunday in the JDD, Alain Fischer, the president of the Orientation Council for the vaccine strategy, also said he was in favor of an obligation to vaccinate for caregivers, an essential bulwark according to him for a resumption of the epidemic at the start of the school year .
Compulsory vaccination for the entire population?
At the same time, the idea of compulsory vaccination continues to gain ground, particularly in the scientific community. Invited by Jean-Jacques Bourdin on BFM and RMC on Thursday, the president of the High Authority for Health Dominique Le Guludec did not hide that such a decision could only be beneficial in the event of resumption of the spread of the related epidemic the Delta variant, against which two doses of vaccine have been shown to be effective.
“We will have to consider compulsory vaccination depending on the epidemic situation,” says Dominique Le Guludec, recalling that this would not be a first. “Vaccination obligations, there are when you travel. There are even some for caregivers, like hepatitis C ”.
For his part, the High Commissioner for Planning François Bayrou said on Sunday that he was living “with an obsession: it is that one day a mutation will cause the virus to become extremely harmful to children”, and said to himself in favor of compulsory vaccination during his interview in the RTL / LCI / Le Figaro Grand Jury.
“We will not force the French to be vaccinated, vaccination does not have to be compulsory in the general population”, nevertheless declared Friday the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran. A final decision?