Covid: vaccination soon to be really compulsory for all in France?

Published by Laurent P., Caroline J., Cécile D. · Updated on 10 September 2021 at 10h18 · Published on 10 September 2021 at 08h02
And what if Covid vaccine was compulsory in France...? The idea is gaining ground for Parlementarians as in late August they filled in a bill proposal at the Senate aiming at making the vaccine compulsory. An idea that seems to grow, while a study carried out by the Institut Pasteur and published this past September 6, tends to show that for the time being vaccination is not enough to prevent a fifth epidemic wave. Keep reading to find out more!

Will Covid-19 vaccine be compulsory? Anyway, this is what seem to wish always more health institutions and decision-making bodies in France, such as a PS parlementarian group that - on August 31, 2021 - filled for a bill proposal at the Senate "implementing compulsory vaccination against sARS-CoV-2". The "only way to this date to exit a health safety policy and finally enter into a clearly standing public health policy", the group explained.

"Will we have to live with semi-liberties for long? With a health pass fracturing the society, PCR tests that will become charged while we know today the real way is vaccination?" PS group president at the Senate Patrick Kanner told this past September 8 to our peers from Ouest France. He goes on: "individual freedom of some people cannot jeopardize the nation's common safety". François Hollande's former minister also consider "mandatory vaccination is the simplest, most relevant, fairest, and most egalitarian solution for the French".

The Minister rubs it in: "Why would some do it and others would not? Dura lex sed lex, 'the law is tough but this is the law'. I am deeply convinced that if vaccination was mandatory, many people would comply with the rule. And if today there are dissatisfaction cracks, this is because things are not clear", he states. The compulsory vaccine issue is not the only one thought up by the PS, as it could "be instated in the upcoming months", Union centriste group speaker Philippe Bonnecarrère as reported by our peers from Public Sénat. "Within the group, we do not dismiss the possibility to consider general compulsory vaccination", he also explained this past July. Same thing for LREM senator Martin Lévrier who does not rule out the idea "to address this topic very soon".

Is the government ready to go for compulsory vaccination?

At the government as well the idea of compulsory vaccine is gaining ground, although not favored for now. But it could "eventually come around", government spokesman Gabriel Attal explained this past August 29 to our peers from Grand Jury RTL, Le Figaro, LCI. As for Prime Minister Jean Castex, he wishes to specify this is not on the agenda: "I listened to what Mr. Attal said. For now, things are clear, we will achieve our goal [...]. We will see where we at on September 15", he explained this past August 31 to our peers from Actu Strasbourg.

The idea of compulsory vaccination could grow bigger since a study carried out by the Institut Pasteur and published this past September 6 tends to show that for now, the vaccination cover was far from being enough to control the Delta variant and its spread. According to the Institute's prospects, it would be necessary to have 90% of the population vaccinated to hope and reach herd immunity. An assessment also made by government "Mr. vaccine" Alain Fischer who explained that it would required "a vaccination cover of at least 90%" to "stem the epiedemic". But he thinks compulsory vaccination is not necessary yet: "to date, the Delta variant does not jeopardize the vaccination campaign", as he would rather go for dialog and pedagogy with the French.

An idea gaining ground for months

Back to August 1, 2021, in Journal du Dimanche, Fédération Hospitalière de France (FHF) President Frédéric Valletoux has spoken for compulsory vaccination for all. He says the health pass “will not be enough to reach real herd immunity”. Therefore, he called the government to “go beyond incitation to cross the last step” and make Covid-19 vaccine compulsory for the entire French population.

This past July 4, on Grand Jury RTL/LCI/Le Figaro show set, François Bayrou said he was for making vaccine compulsory for all. “Vaccination is the only barrier against what we are looking at, what threatens to happen, a fourth wave, and why not a fifth wave. I have always thought it will end with the common decision of making vaccination compulsory, like the eleven vaccines given at babies when they are born”, he explained, before adding: “I do not know decisions that caused no animosity, but the grandeur and the responsibility of a leader is to say: ‘Listen, I am aware, I have checked, worked, and thought about the matter, in full consciousness, I tell you what we must do’”.

This July 1, 2021, during a hearing at the Senate, several parliamentarians have also recommended making vaccination compulsory for 24-59 years old. Then, on Friday July 2, the President of the Haute Autorité de Santé College said she was for making vaccination compulsory for all the French over 12 years of age.

Some specialists speak about this possibility such as Paris Cochin hospital infectious disease specialist Odile Launay. "The compulsory vaccine issue is coming", she stated this Wednesday August 4 on Radio Classique. "Smallpox, polio, measles are compulsory vaccines and it enabled to get rid of these diseases. So, if the health pass is not enough, we will have to move to compulsory vaccination", she added.

So far, the government preferred betting on “incitation”, but the idea of compulsory vaccine is no longer ruled out. “Depending on the situation evolution, we will undoubtedly have to wonder about making vaccine compulsory for all the French”, Emmanuel Macron then stated on July 12 during his latest address.

According to some experts, the government will have to make vaccination compulsory if the number of people vaccinated does not increase enough. This July 2, Haute Autorité de Santé Collège President Dominique Le Guludec stated on BFMTV-RMC that “depending on the epidemic situation, depending on the vaccination toll the country would have reached, we will have to consider it” for anyone over 12 years of age.

We have a weapon. We have the choice of finding ourselves in last year’s situation this Fall, with an epidemic peak and health restrictions, or we have the choice to massively go and get vaccinated. I can only urge everyone to get vaccinated because today we have the incredible luck of having vaccines working on variants”, she claimed.

According to an Odoxa-Backbone survey consulting for France Info and Le Figaro released this July 1, 58% of people surveyed are for making Covid-19 compulsory for the entire population. In November 2020, this percentage reached 38% only.

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