Covid-19: have the French become pro-vaccines?

A real change? On the one hand, young people rushing into the vaccination slots, on the other, surveys seeming to indicate that the number of anti-vaccine has fallen among the population. The Cevipof barometer published by The world May 21 thus indicated that the “Vaccine-skeptics” were fewer, while 65% of the panel said they wanted to be vaccinated or have already been vaccinated, a figure up 16 points compared to the previous measure, three months earlier.

A situation very different from that of the end of 2020, when the government, concerned about a vaccine reluctance that seemed to be in the majority, was walking on eggshells. At that time, a third of French people said, in a survey by Public Health France, that they had ” surely not “ the intention to be vaccinated, and a quarter ” probably not “. Before the trend is reversed from January, to reach 56% of respondents saying they are in favor of vaccines.

A pragmatic population

“Let us remember the formula of Alfred Sauvy according to which the figures are fragile beings who, by dint of being tortured, end up confessing everything we want them to say”, reacts Anne-Marie Moulin, emeritus research director at the CNRS and member of the steering committee for citizen consultation on vaccination.

Already skeptical of the surveys that had classified France as a champion of vaccine mistrust, she rejects the concept of a shift in opinion: “Let’s stop reasoning in military terms, with opposing camps around a pro or anti-vaccine dogma!” “

“We must approach the surveys with a minimum of caution, but the indicators seem to be on the rise”, considers Romy Sauvayre, a sociologist specializing in beliefs and knowledge at the University of Clermont-Auvergne. According to her, “The first driver of vaccine hesitation is the fear of side effects”. Gold, “The press articles, but also the testimonies of relatives, made it possible to show that they were limited for messenger RNA vaccines”.

A wealth of information

Sharing “The vaccine experience” by the entourage thus made it possible to remove the doubts of a part of the opinion for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the observation not being obviously not the same for AstraZeneca, which suffered from a deficit of image after the cases of thrombosis reported in France as in other countries. “The discourse of the authorities on this vaccine was very anxiety-provoking”, notes Anne-Marie Moulin.

According to her, most French people have a pragmatic reasoning: “Apart from a small core of people who develop arguments structured around the rejection of the vaccine and the authority of the state, the vast majority try to sort through the information coming from all sides, and are really trying to find out if the vaccines are safe and will lead to a return to normal life. “

A dynamic that seems to corroborate the CoviPrev survey of Public Health France: in April, two-thirds of people declaring that they did not wish to be vaccinated explained their choice by the fact that “New vaccines are not safe” (69%). But they indicated that they would be ready to change their mind if there was “Information that proves the efficacy and safety of the vaccine” (32%); “A return to a more normal life” (22%); or the certainty that it would improve “The protection of my relatives” (16%).

Glass ceiling risk

What do the staunch opponents of vaccines really represent? This figure is difficult to assess. The Academy of Medicine estimates the weight of “opponents” at around 15%, on a par with “hesitant”. “It remains difficult to give a precise figure of people who will never change their mind”, says Romy Sauvayre. On the other hand, “20% hesitant, it seems credible, it is a fairly constant proportion in the history of vaccination against infectious diseases”.

This share of the unvaccinated and undecided in any case worries the Ministry of Health, which indicated, on May 25, not to exclude the appearance of a “Glass ceiling of vaccination, from summer”. The number of candidates for an injection would then begin to decline, like what has been observed in the United States, the United Kingdom or Israel. In particular, the authorities have indicated that “Not be resigned to the fact that 20% of those over 75 have not yet been vaccinated”, by evoking the strengthening of mechanisms for ” move towards “ These persons.


Uncertainties about vaccine adherence

Vaccination is open to all adults from Monday, May 31, without special conditions.

Almost 24 million people received a first dose of the vaccine and nearly 11 million people both.

The next goal is to reach 30 million first-time vaccines by mid-June. The executive did not set a precise course for the future, except “to go as far as possible”.

In its opinion of May 11, the orientation council of the vaccination strategy estimated, with a view to the autumn, that “even while placing oneself in optimistic conditions, the number of people to reach requires to consider the vaccination of the children. To achieve collective immunity.


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