The Covid is stealthily withdrawing and with it all the tools that were used to protect against it. While masks have no longer been compulsory in transport since Monday May 16, the queues in front of the screening tents – those that remain – have disappeared. The TousAntiCovid application, another symbol of the health crisis, seems to have frozen since the end of the compulsory vaccination pass on March 14. As for the scientific council, its last opinion dates back to March 11, a few days before the authorities’ decision to broaden the recommendation of the 2and booster dose of vaccine for those over 65 at risk.
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And since ? No instructions, or almost. A “culpable omission” in the eyes of Professor Yves Buisson, president of the Covid cell at the National Academy of Medicine. “Certainly, the epidemic situation is improving day by day, but above all it seems that, in this electoral period, we prefer to talk about the lifting of the mask in transport than about vaccination”, deplores the epidemiologist, for whom the authorities do not recall actively enough the importance of the second booster dose for the most vulnerable. “To date, the rate is not optimal among those over 80, and very low among those over 60,” he points out.
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It is also for the entire population, young or not particularly at risk, that the instructions would benefit from being clarified.. “Unlike the beginnings of vaccination, we entered a case-by-case phase, but the recommendations remained very theoretical and general. They are no longer adapted to the current situation.raises Michèle Legeas, honorary teacher at the School of Advanced Studies in Public Health (EHESP).
She continues: “Many people became infected this winter before taking their booster dose. Should they wait six months for a new injection, knowing that the duration of the immunity conferred by the infection is not yet very clear? And those who have already received their booster dose, knowing that the immunity conferred by the vaccine does not exceed four months? »
Reintegrate unvaccinated caregivers
These are all questions that Doctor Jacques Battistoni’s patients regularly ask. “The demand for information on vaccination is very strong”, emphasizes the president of the MG France union, who notes that “Public speaking on the subject has become almost non-existent. People see their booster dose slipping away and are surprised at not having any indications”. They wonder if they will have to be vaccinated again one day, if the mandatory health pass will make its return… “We professionals are in a period of uncertainty, says the doctor. Because, with the new government, our interlocutors will change, starting with the Minister of Health. »
“When in doubt, many let it go”, believes Michele Legeas. Especially since the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, recently indicated to seize the High Authority for Health (HAS) with a view to a possible reintegration of unvaccinated caregivers. Even if it means that vaccination is a thing of the past…
One thing is certain, according to Jacques Battistoni: “Unless there is a new, very different variant, the question of vaccination, if it resurfaces, will not come up before the fall. What is emerging is a third booster dose for those at risk, and a second booster dose for others. » At least this is the speech made by the “vaccination task force” of the Ministry of Health, still in place.
“As always, since the start of the crisis, we have not anticipated”
The new Minister of Health will have the heavy task of convincing people of the usefulness of another injection. “Without a new vaccine better adapted to the profile of the virus, it will be complicated, predicts the president of MG France. Many of us have seen in recent months that messenger RNA vaccines were not very conclusive against contamination with Omicron and its sub-variants, even if they continue to protect against serious forms. »
The challenge for the authorities will be all the greater since vaccination will have been evacuated from the political and media scene for many months, according to Professor Yves Buisson. “As always since the beginning of this crisis, we do not anticipate, deplores the epidemiologist. Even without the appearance of a variant of concern, we know that the circulation of the virus will intensify in the fall. Beyond the dangers for those at risk, the vaccination of children has been completely left in abeyance. They will therefore become contaminated at the start of the school year, and the refrain of class closures risks starting again. »
Less common injections
►According to the Ministry of Health, 94.3% eligible French people (12 years and over) have received at least one dose of vaccine, i.e. more than 80% of the general population.
►The initial vaccination schedule rate (one or two doses depending on the vaccine) amounts to 92.7% of the eligible population (79.3% of the general population).
►81.9% of people eligible for the booster received their injection. Those aged 65-74 are the most represented (86.8% recall).
►The latest figures published by the ministry, on May 13, mention 41,620,680 booster doses injected since the start of the epidemic, including 52,000 in 24 hours (1time and 2and booster doses combined).
►83% of healthcare professionals are now fully vaccinated.