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SCIENCE – It’s a start, a simple “thrill”, says the Ministry of Health. But this is good news: On Doctolib, appointments for an injection of the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine increased by 10% last week, after several weeks of dropping out.
The very last scores, dating from this Monday, July 5, even triggered a few smiles on avenue Duquesne: “Yesterday, the number of appointments for a primary vaccination increased by 40%”, welcomed Olivier Véran, in uhttps://twitter.com/olivierveran/status/1412365354723155969?s=20. If the government is playing the positive attitude card, it is because the end of June was particularly difficult to negotiate.
Since mid-June, the supply of vaccines has exceeded demand. In other words, we are no longer vaccinating at full capacity, while the epidemic is regaining ground thanks to the Delta variant. Consequence: the number of Covid-19 contaminations has been rising for six days, under the effect of a variant more transmissible than the British variant, still in the majority. “Measures and vaccination are not enough to stem the epidemic”, summarizes for the HuffPost Jean-Stéphane Dhersin, modeler of the Covid-19 epidemic for the CNRS.
Thus, at the current rate, we could experience a peak in hospitalizations similar to that of autumn 2020, according to models by the Institut Pasteur. A fourth wave is looming, “from the end of July”, alerted the Minister of Health Olivier Véran on July 4 on Twitter. Before hammering in: “barrier gestures, vaccines, test / alert / protect”. In the face of the looming threat, it is all the more important to try to achieve collective immunity as quickly as possible.
The Delta threat or the urge to vacation?
To get out of this impasse, the government flooded the French with communication. Olivier Véran and Gabriel Attal, the government spokesman, skimmed the trays to warn of a possible epidemic resumption, even going so far as to threaten to make the injection compulsory for caregivers. And since June 5, new clips have been looping on TV and on social networks, emphasizing the immediate benefits of the vaccine (protection, reopening of leisure facilities).
Have these repeated calls paid off? Impossible to know precisely the origin of this slight jump of tense shoulders, sighs Jérémy Ward, sociologist of vaccine controversies (CNRS, INSERM), interviewed by the HuffPost. Without refuting the hypothesis of a burst acquired by force of communication, the researcher rather sees a holiday effect: “The French probably have more time to organize their vaccination and devote themselves fully to it”, he argues. Especially since if they want to travel, getting vaccinated makes it easier to access foreign countries.
In our neighbors affected by the Delta variant, vaccination is also on the rise. Thus, in Portugal and Israel, the number of doses administered has increased in recent days, in parallel with the cases of Covid-19.
In the UK, faced with a veritable wave of Delta variants, the number of first doses injected into young British people has been increasing since the end of May, as can be seen in the graph below made by maths professor Oliver Johnson .
Signs that the government’s dreaded “glass ceiling” is shattering? Embarrassed silence at the Ministry of Health: “This return to primary vaccination must be confirmed and continued”, we are told. Because for the moment, there remain “approximately 300,000 vacant appointments (available, but not taken) on the sites over three days”, that is to say approximately 100,000 per day. In other words, it is possible that the thinning is only temporary.
See also on The HuffPost: New clip for vaccination uses cognitive biases to convince you