France struggles with public readiness for the COVID-19 vaccine

When 66-year-old cardiologist Jean-Jacques Monsuez slipped a hand from his blue-and-white checked shirt and offered it to a nurse with a syringe filled with the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, many of the people around the world had the opportunity to plan immediately.

Not just in France.

This may be the land of the famous scientist Louis Pasteur to discover the principles of vaccination. But it is also one of the most reluctant countries in the world to get a COVID-19 shot, leading to the lowest altitude ever to start inclusion of its citizens in any developed country.

In the first six days after the vaccine was brought to Europe on 27 December in a concerted European Union effort, only 516 people in France received shots – so few out of a population of 67 million that it is unclear from zero. In contrast, Germany vaccinated more than 200,000 residents of its first residence in the first week and Italy more than 100,000.

For Monsouz, the decision to take the injection was clear, for his own safety and for that of his family and patients.

“There is a duty. You will see one sick person after another, “he added.” He was not harmed. I felt the same way before and after. ”

But many of his compatriots did not agree. In a poll conducted last month by Ipsos Global Advisors, in conjunction with the World Economic Forum, only 40% of French residents said they intended to be vaccinated. In contrast to countries such as Britain and the US, where 77% and %%% of respondents, respectively, are eager to inoculate, France was the last of the 1 nations surveyed.

Gaelic hesitation is spread by a variety of factors. There are many potential side effects and concerns about the speed at which vaccines have been developed. The government’s distrust in controlling the epidemic and in France’s past health and vaccine scandals has increased.

A cumbersome consent process has in some cases suppressed the vaccination campaign. And leading healthcare professionals have complained about the lack of a clear official strategy for bringing vaccines and assuring people about their value and effectiveness.

Over the weekend, President Emanuel Macron – who survived his feud with Kovid-19 – promised that the pace of vaccinations would pick up “quickly and powerfully”, and officials added more than 50 healthcare workers to the list of those eligible for the shot.

Adviser Muraro, an art consultant, is in no hurry to join the queue. “We don’t know the side effects,” Muraro, 50, said. It’s too fast. There is not enough ambiguity. “

Muraro cited the new Messenger RNA technology in the Pfizer-Bioentech vaccine as a cause for concern. The same technology is used in the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which is not yet authorized for use in Europe. Many in France are concerned that the vaccine was quickly taken to market for the financial benefit of large pharmaceutical companies.

Catherine Hill, a retired epidemiologist in Paris, said that despite the relatively short duration of vaccine circulation, such qualifications are understandable, but they do not reflect the medical community’s understanding of vaccine development and approval. And the gravity of the public health crisis facing France demands that people take action for the COVID-19 shot, he said.

According to Johns Hopkins University, it is the most affected country in Europe, with 2.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,644. There is death. After two complete lockdowns, residents are currently under curfew, and bars, restaurants and cultural attractions are closed. Officials have promised to ease sanctions so that once the number of new cases falls below 5,000,000 per day, the target is still a long way off.

“The virus kills 400 people every day in France,” Hill said. “Imagine a big plane falling from the sky every day.”

In a televised interview over the weekend, French Health Minister Iv Livier Vera defended the slow pace of vaccinations and said France would join its European neighbors by the end of the month.

Vernon’s management of the coronavirus crisis has sparked some distrust among his compatriots. Initially, he said the mask was “unnecessary” for the general public. Masking has since become mandatory, and many in France believe their initial advice against it was exacerbated by a shortage of supplies that the government does not want to spoil rather than a simple health policy.

Speaking of vaccinations, a health department spokesman said launching a public information campaign was no longer “useful”, as most springs in France would not be suitable for shots until spring, after residents in nursing homes were given priority and front-line healthcare workers.

French Health Minister Hotel Livier Veran talks to a woman as he arrives at the Hotel Diau Hospital in Paris on Monday.

France’s health minister, Hotel Livier Veran, is talking to a woman as he arrives at the Hotel Diau Hospital in Paris on Monday to take part in vaccinating health workers.

(Martin Bureau / AFP / Getty Images)

The country’s recent history with the new vaccine has sparked some public skepticism. In late 2009, the French government ordered several doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine, which was in low demand, leading to allegations of financial mismanagement.

More appropriately, there was concern that the hepatitis B vaccine given in France in the 1990s was linked to an increase in multiple sclerosis. Multiple studies examined the link with different findings. In 2002, the World Health Organization confirmed that, “Preliminary studies have shown no statistically significant elevated risk, despite slight elevated barriers.” Many remain unrivaled here.

Edward Vignot’s sister developed MS after taking the hepatitis B vaccine, which is why she prefers to wait to see what side effects the Covid-19 vaccine may have on someone before inserting a needle into her hand. Vinot, Muraro’s partner, also wants to hear what scientists who are not affiliated with governments or pharmaceutical companies have to say.

“We need other people,” he said, “independent experts.”

The family is also winning the key on doctors and pharmacists, on whom the French lean heavily for advice. Elliott Gauthier, who lives on the outskirts of Bordeaux, said he was still unsure whether she would be vaccinated, largely because her doctor said she did not yet have enough information for one way or another.

“We don’t have enough information about the composition of this shot,” said the 71-year-old retired schoolteacher. “I’m going to see what my doctor advises.”

France’s inoculation campaign is further surrounded by a complex consent process that seeks pre-vaccination advice to ensure patient consent. Because the campaign is currently targeting the elderly in retirement homes, some of whom suffer from cognitive issues, the process has been particularly cumbersome. Vera on Tuesday vowed to simplify the process.

Meanwhile, both Muraro and Vignot are taking other preventive measures, such as monitoring social distance, wearing masks and taking vitamin D, which some researchers believe may help eliminate the infection. The couple no longer have to shake hands or greet friends with a kiss on the cheek, as was the French habit until the epidemic broke out.

And both have already contracted coronavirus, which makes them believe they may have been immune for some time.

Muraro said he will visit again in the fall when he gets vaccinated, when he will likely be eligible, and when the cold weather increases the risk of inducing him to go indoors.

Frederick Adnett, head of emergency medicine at Avicenna Hospital in the northern suburbs of Paris, believes that most people in France are like Muraro and Vigont: don’t refuse the flat-out vaccine but wait and take the approach.

“When they see that it is effective and safe, opinions will change,” Adnet added, adding that high vaccination rates in the US and the UK should help boost public confidence here. “I think the French are fair, and in two months you’ll see that we’re all shouting that there’s not enough vaccine.”

Al-Faizi is a special correspondent.