France continues its vaccination “Forced march”. Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed Thursday, May 20 the advance by two weeks of the eligibility date of syringes to all adults, without age or health conditions, set for May 31, and not June 15 as planned initially. Priority professions – teachers, police officers, gendarmes, cashiers or bus drivers – will be entitled to it one week before, from May 24. A “Strong acceleration” permitted by the receipt of “Many doses by the end of June”.
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“We need to have the highest possible vaccination rate”, insisted the head of government, without adding new objectives to those already decreed by Emmanuel Macron: 30 million vaccinated in mid-June and access to doses to all adults “Who wish” before the end of summer. As of May 20, more than 22 million French people have received at least one dose – 32.9% of the total population and 42% of adults.
“The objective is to go as far as possible”
However, the executive is careful not to announce a specific course to be reached in the coming months. “We have a goal, it is to go as far as possible”, replies the Ministry of Health, its forecasts being complicated by the absence of “Granularity [précision] extremely strong in vaccination adherence rates across different populations. It is about 80% among the oldest, and we are not far from it ”. More than 79% of those aged 75 and over have indeed received at least one dose.
Partially excluded from vaccination in the name of prioritizing people at risk, those under 50, bitten on condition of justifying co-morbidities or reserving a day slot for the next day, are naturally less covered: 11.65% of 18 -29 years old and 21.44% of 30-49 year olds. But their desire to be so would also be weaker than among their elders. In mid-March, according to the CoviPrev survey by Public Health France (SpF), 36% of 18-24 year olds and 39% of 25-34 year olds said they definitely or probably wanted to be vaccinated, against 79% of those over 65. Membership of the first two categories seems to grow over the months, reaching 55% and 43% respectively in the same poll conducted from April 21 to 23.
“Exponential decline of the epidemic”
In the latest version of its modeling, the Institut Pasteur estimates that a “Vaccination of 90% of over 65s and 70% of 18-64 year olds would completely relax control measures” in autumn. The forecast, however, depends on epidemic parameters that fluctuate by nature. The researchers therefore base their analysis on a reproduction rate “R0” of 3 in the fall. That is to say 3 people contaminated, on average, by each infected, in a context free from any control measure and barrier gesture.
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“But we never observe the” R0 “, since it is based on the absence of any protection and immunity, both natural and vaccine., explains Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva. In France, the effective “R” is 0.84 [le 20 mai], which testifies to an exponential decrease in the epidemic. “
Vaccination of adolescents in June?
One thing is certain: after its beginnings punctuated by drop-off deliveries, the continuation and end of the vaccination campaign will not depend on the doses available. More than 32 million vaccines are expected in June by the Directorate General of Health (DGS), double the deliveries in May.
From there to opening the injection to minors? Regarding children, the Ministry of Health explains that it does not have “Scientific studies or marketing authorizations that allow us to consider it in the short term”. For teenagers, “Things can be envisioned more quickly”, the Pfizer-BioNTech product with marketing authorization from 16 years of age. On May 21, Alain Fischer, chairman of the Vaccine Strategy Orientation Council, considered that injection for 16-18 year olds “Will be feasible during June”.