Although the prospect of a vaccine is getting closer, will it be used by the French? This is the question a survey conducted by Ipsos and released on Thursday November 5 tried to answer. Barely 24 hours after a candidate vaccine against coronavirus has been said to be “90% effective” according to the founder, the Pfizer laboratory, the French need more to be convinced of the legitimacy of a potential cure.
And for good reason: in France, only 54% of the population is willing to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Earlier this year, as the prospects for the delivery of vaccine were still in a blur, 59% of the surveyed said they were willing to get vaccinated. Today, the French are those fearing the arrival of a vaccine the most in the world.
As a matter of fact, the Ipsos study shows France clearly is the last country with populations for the vaccine. Faced with the following assertion: “if a vaccine against Covid-19 was available, I would get vaccinated” India and China are well in the lead with respectively 87% and 85% of the surveyed that “totally agree” or “rather agree”. As for a comparison, in our European neighbors, Italians (65%) and Spanish (64%) are the most skeptical on the issue, far behind Germany (69%) and the United-Kingdom (79%).
This Thursday November 12, 2020, another survey conducted by Odoxa for Franceinfo and Le Figaro goes that way too. Even more indicative, Odoxa study results shows that barely 14% of the surveyed are willing to get vaccinated "for sure". Furthermore, 60% of the French surveyed said they were against the obligation to get tested.
But then, how to explain the suspicion around a vaccine as a French particularity? According to Etienne Mercier – head of the opinion unit – interviewed on BFMTV, “There is mistrust as for vaccination, it has always existed, but it is especially strong here”. Well, we have heard it all from the Pasteur country! In concrete words, the study bets on the fact 32% of the French against the vaccine are worried about the side effects. Thus, 35% of them estimate the clinical trials have been rushed too much, beefing up their worries.
According to Institut Pasteur scientific director interviewed by franceinfo as part of the release of the survey, this suspicion could be explained by the lack of transparency on the governmental communication on this topic. "We will not be able to counteract this pandemic if there is no strong compliance from the population and transparent communication on what the vaccines proposed to the population are about and their potential risks" he explains.
To this, add the large plurality of the “anti-vaccine” speeches that echo in France. Especially when political celebrities such as Green Member of the European Parliament Yannick Jadot explicitly asks for the vaccine to be made mandatory. And it does feed the most nebulous conspiracy theories…
Survey conducted from October 8 to 13, 2020 online to 18,526 adults aged 16 to 74 from 15 different countries including France.