France seems to be reliving the summer of 2020 with the circulation of the coronavirus which is on the rise again among the youngest age groups. If the vaccines can now make it possible to contain a new wave of patients in the hospital, the vaccination in those under 50 years old is far from being sufficient to hope for a beginning of collective immunity.
The epidemic is progressing again among the youngest. After weeks marked by a regained freedom for the French and a clear improvement in the health situation, the slight increase in the number of cases reported positive for Covid-19 raises fears of an epidemic resumption more sudden than it seems.
Olivier Véran was particularly concerned last week about a new wave caused by the Delta variant, which could occur even before the start of September.
“There is a potential threat of epidemic resumption this summer,” then declared the Minister of Health during a trip to a vaccination center.
A sharply increasing incidence rate among 20-29 year olds
Itinerant centers, communication campaign, possibility of receiving two doses at two different places or even the organization of raffles … The authorities have been stepping up initiatives in recent days to raise awareness among the still unvaccinated, often young, population.
An age group that knows that it has less chance of contracting a serious form of the disease, but with much more social interaction. Proof of this is the incidence rate, or the number of positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a week. It stood at 22.8 nationally between the week of July 26-22. The previous week, it was 19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. While this is certainly not an explosion in viral circulation, it seems to stabilize after weeks of slowing down.
The trend is not the same depending on the generation. Thus, among people over 50, the incidence rate does not exceed 16 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, regardless of the age group. The situation is quite different among young people, according to the latest data reported by Public Health France: among 10-19 year olds, the incidence rate is 29 (+2), among 20-29 year olds to 52 ( +16), among 30-39 year olds at 30 (+3) and among 40-49 year olds at 22 (+2).
Last category eligible for vaccination
This disparity can be explained in particular by vaccination coverage. In France, 51.5% of the population received at least one dose of vaccine against the coronavirus on July 5, 2021. In detail, this amounted on July 4 to 79.6% in those over 80 years old. , 90.1% among 75-79 year olds, 89.4% among 70-74 year olds, 79.5% among 65-69 year olds, 76.6% among 60-64 year olds and 69.7% in the fifties.
Vaccination coverage therefore decreases – except among those over 80 – as we approach the youngest age group. In 40-year-olds, vaccination coverage for a first dose is 56.4%. Among those in their thirties at 45.6%, at 43% for 25-29 years, among 18-24 years at 42.2% and only 12.4% for 12-17 years, the last to have been authorized to receive the serum.
“We must not forget that the vaccination was opened late for those over 18, which explains a much lower rate,” notes Josselin Hazo, editor-in-chief of Printmedia aimed at young people.
Although it was possible from the beginning of May that young people could receive doses of serum, the official opening to vaccination for all adults did not date until May 31. That of adolescents aged between 12 and 17 was only allowed in mid-June. The phased schedule of vaccination can explain these delays in vaccination and therefore potential contamination / transmission by young people.
“They have one of the keys” to avoid a new wave, estimates Professor Frédéric Lapostolle on our antenna. The emergency doctor at the Avicenne hospital in Bobigny and deputy director of Samu 93 believes that “we must set ourselves the goal of a return to school as normal as possible, professionally, academically and academically”.
A youth in the threatened summer
The vaccination schedule alone cannot explain this relative enthusiasm of young people for vaccination. The end of spring and the beginning of summer are synonymous with exams, partial or baccalaureate exams and may be another reason for this lower vaccination coverage.
In addition, the French under 50 are more mobile than their elders and may have preferred to postpone their vaccination and that of their children until the next school year. The improvement so far in the health situation has also been able to slow down more than one young person to be vaccinated, some not seeing much use.
“There is this form of self-protection where young people feel self-protected. In any case, these young people say to themselves what is the point of being vaccinated?”, Develops Josselin Hazo.
Rather spared by the serious forms of Covid-19, young people do not escape the health consequences. At the start of the summer season, Catalonia has just announced the closure of nightclubs and other nightlife entertainment venues in closed spaces due to the “exponential” resumption of contagions among the youngest.
Hugues Garnier BFMTV reporter