The scientific council, responsible for guiding the French government during the Covid-19 pandemic, recommended, Friday July 9, “An obligation to vaccinate for caregivers” among the measures to be taken to cope with the rapid progression of the Delta variant.
In this new opinion, the council is also in favor of lowering the tonnage (currently set at 1,000 people) for events subject to a health pass (complete vaccination certificate or negative test) and to “Partial restrictive measures” in the most affected geographic areas, “Including July and August”.
Council experts worry about still vaccination coverage rate “Too low, among staff in the medico-social sector in contact with elderly and / or disabled people in nursing homes, specialized establishments or in the city”, and point out that “Only 40% of nursing home staff, public or private, would be vaccinated, with great territorial heterogeneity”.
The latest figures communicated by Public Health France (SPF) show, as of May 31, a vaccination rate of 72.2% of first doses administered to doctors in a sample of establishments representative of the national situation, against 58.7% of nurses, 50% of nursing assistants and 52.6% of other paramedics.
The government is working on a bill that could be adopted before the end of July and include this obligation to vaccinate health workers. Asked Friday about this, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, said at the microphone of France Inter that nothing has yet been decided. “At this stage, no decision has been taken, but it seems that a societal, political and professional consensus is emerging to move towards that”, he assured.
The Minister and several professional health organizations signed a joint text on Wednesday in which they say they are in favor of compulsory vaccination, under certain conditions, for health professionals.
The scientific council considers, for its part, that it “Could be extended to other categories, such as ‘caregivers’, personnel in personal services or all (non-health) professionals exposed and exposing to a risk for others”.
The Delta variant soon to be the majority
According to Olivier Véran, the Delta variant is rapidly supplanting other strains of the Covid-19 virus in France, and represented Thursday evening “Not far from 50%” contamination.
“The Delta variant, this variant which initially came to us from India” before expanding into other areas such as the United Kingdom, “Appeared a few weeks ago in our country and it is 60% more contagious than the other viral strains which circulated until now”, recalled the minister, on France Inter.
“It is gradually replacing all the other strains of the coronavirus that existed and it will soon be in the majority, probably this weekend, in our country”, added the minister.
It is the spread of this more contagious variant that has caused the epidemic to rise again in the country, underlined Olivier Véran. “It again leads to an increase in contamination in France”, he said, observing that “Every week there are about 50% more contaminations than in the previous week”.
“A phenomenon is happening quite close to what we experienced last summer: the virus mainly affects young people, who do few serious forms but become contaminated”, according to the minister.
But even with this variant, “The vaccine remains effective against severe forms”, he continued. “It’s time to get vaccinated”, especially for all those who hesitate or who wanted to wait even longer before taking action, insisted Olivier Véran.
The scientific council has also ruled that “The epidemic can only be controlled with 90% to 95% of people vaccinated or infected”, level revised upwards compared to its previous reports, due to the increased transmission of the new variants.
No end of free tests before the end of the summer
As for the end of free Covid-19 screening tests, the debate should not take place before the end of the summer, according to him, to keep an eye on the evolution of the virus:
“From a health point of view, when you are in an epidemic that is restarting, with an increase in the number of cases, I prefer to keep a measurement tool that is as concrete, as effective as possible and as territorialized as possible. “
The end of free, “This is a reflection that we will have in the long term, once we have offered vaccination to all adults, as we have committed, before the end of the summer and as we will do,” he added.
The president of the Ile-de-France region, Valérie Pécresse (ex-LR, Libres!), And the general delegate of La République en Marche (LRM), Stanislas Guerini, both said on Friday that they were in favor of charging for the tests. “Comfort” to encourage vaccination, as well as an extension of the health pass.
“I think that the PCR tests, the antigenic tests that we say of comfort, those that we do to be able to travel, to go to places of concerts, shows, we must now pay for them because it is very expensive. to Social Security and it is not an incentive for vaccination ”, pleaded on France 2 Mme Pécresse.
“I believe that we must give everyone the opportunity to continue either to test themselves or to be vaccinated, but that the passage in paying tests of the tests of comfort will have an effect on the behaviors strong enough to say to themselves: yes, it’s worth it to get a free vaccine “, for his part justified Mr. Guerini on Public Senate.
Emmanuel Macron will chair a health defense council on Monday, during which the questions of compulsory vaccination for caregivers, the extension of the health pass and free tests should be addressed, facing the risk of a fourth epidemic wave due, this time, to the Delta variant.