Covid’s anti-Vax sentiment exceeds 50% in France

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Anti-vax sentiment against the Covid-19 vaccination appears to be increasing sharply in France, after a new poll for the first time brought the number of people opposed to the vaccine to more than 50%.
A new investigation by Ifop sounder noted that 59% of the French public “does not intend to be vaccinated when it becomes possible”.

The online survey interviewed a representative national sample of the French public for the newspaper Sunday Newspaper.

Politically, opponents of the jab are more likely to support opposition parties such as La France Insoumise and the far-right group Rassemblement National. People under 35 are also more likely to be suspicious.

The new poll suggests anti-vax sentiment has increased over the past month, as the 59% who do not intend to take the hit rose from the 46% found in a previous Ipsos poll in late October .

Read more: France survey: 46% would refuse the Covid vaccination

The most skeptical France in Europe

The French public is known to be more suspicious of vaccination than other European countries.

In a recent Ipsos poll – among a nationally representative sample of 1,500 members of the French public – France ranked last out of 15 countries on the issue of confidence in vaccines, behind the United Kingdom (79% ), Germany (69%), and Italy (65%).

Various conspiracy theories and anti-vax petitions in France have gained ground online in recent months, with a petition titled “No to compulsory vaccination” collecting more than 150,000 signatures.

The signatories wrote comments such as “I don’t trust rapid vaccines, or people who want to force them on us” and “Vaccines are dangerous and unnecessary”, while another wrote: “Make a vaccine mandatory. Too quickly made compulsory would be criminal on the part of the state, and also a denial of democracy. ”

‘Communication’ requested

Medical experts around the world have recommended that widespread use of a vaccine be the next step in the fight against Covid and that the vaccine be safe.

Regarding the persuasion of the public in France to have the vaccine, immunologist and professor emeritus at the Collège de France, Professor Alain Fischer told Le Figaro that in France communication is essential.

He declared: “A very large information campaign, with a real effort of communication and education, is necessary. It should not only come from the authorities, but also from the doctors, patient associations of people with chronic diseases, who can really help with the messaging. You have to convince people, explain, inform. ”

He added, “The vaccination takes place in concentric circles, and the first people vaccinated will pass it on to others, who will see that it has gone well, which will allow us to convince people in gradual stages.

“There is an altruistic character in vaccination, which consists in protecting others and a whole part of the population which is particularly sensitive.”

And last month, the chairman of the government’s advisory board the Scientific Council, Professor Delfraissy, said: “We have to be very careful before making a vaccination against Covid-19 compulsory. It would be better if our citizens took control themselves.

“I would expect older and more frail people to get vaccines en masse. For the youngest, getting vaccinated in such a context is a civic act.

President Macron also declared that a new committee of scientific advisers will follow the vaccination campaign in order to “share, at each stage, all information in a clear and transparent manner; everything we know and everything we don’t know ”.

Likewise, the Minister of Health Olivier Veran made it clear that the public will be involved in monitoring the deployment of the vaccine system in France, with the aim of improving transparency, improving communication and confidence, and mitigate the spread of disinformation.

Read more: Citizens will follow the deployment of the Covid-19 vaccine in France

This could take the form of a group of 150 randomly selected audience members – in a style similar to the Citizens’ Climate Convention earlier in the year – or even small focus groups of 20 to 30 people. This has not yet been confirmed.

Some politicians – including MEP Yannick Jadot, from the eco-Europe Ecology-Les Verts (EELV) party – have called for making the vaccine compulsory, while the center-left PRG party has even called for the revocation of medical reimbursement rights of citizens if they refuse to be vaccinated.

Read more: The Covid-19 vaccine “should be compulsory for all” in France

Read more: Center-left party in France: “No vaccine, no reimbursement”

However, President Macron has ruled out making the vaccine mandatory, and instead called for good communication on the safety and value of the vaccine.

France has pre-ordered 90 million doses from several vaccine suppliers, and a first batch of 7.9 million vaccines is expected to arrive in mid-January.

With two doses needed per person, 45 million people could be vaccinated.

The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, declared: “We need to know that vaccines are effective and safe, and that they have received all the necessary authorizations. If this is done, there is no reason why we cannot start vaccinating in mid-January. ”

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