Covid-19: The French are addicted to vaccination


According to the latest IFOP survey, and against all expectations, the French are more and more inclined to the vaccination, as well as hospital professionals, who see it as the essential way out of the epidemic.

Vaccination uptake figures are climbing: The French were 41% at the end of November 2020; today, 65% are vaccinated or would like to be. (1). This figure has now risen to 82% among hospital professionals, for whom this is the essential way out of the epidemic. And more so than the French population as a whole.

In fact, 82% of them intend to be vaccinated or are already vaccinated, compared with 65% of the French, with the aim of protecting others. Students are slightly lower, with 60% intending to be vaccinated or already vaccinated. This is explained in particular by their age: as they are less at risk, they have a lower priority for vaccination and are therefore less likely to be vaccinated than their peers, as well as being personally less inclined to be vaccinated. This divide is mirrored in the general population: 50% of under-35s are vaccinated or intend to be, versus 71% of over-35s. This may be explained by less skeptical populations, who remember the eradication of smallpox, polio or measles thanks to vaccination. 

And yet, in a 2016 study, the France was the most "sceptical" country of the planet with regard to vaccines. In first place for mistrust of vaccination!
The French case highlighted a serious problem of mistrust. The French have less and less faith in the integrity and competence of the state, the healthcare community and the pharmaceutical industry when it comes to their vaccines. The reasons were linked to memories of the past: from the military organization of the H1N1 vaccination campaign, to the boondoggles surrounding the largely off-target hepatitis B vaccination, and the various vaccine scandals and excessive profits.
Today, the company's image has not been rehabilitated by the same organizational and mask management blunders of a year ago, and the errors in vaccine purchasing ... not to mention the conspiracy theories about the origin of the epidemic and the vaccine circulating on social networks, but also the doubts about the prevarications of the scientific authorities' health recommendations.

Nor has the state of mind improved; if anything, it has deteriorated: " A rise in individualism at the expense of altruism According to Thierry Beaudet, President of Mutualité Française, "a certain mistrust persists", and the French also perceive a "lack of trust". A powerful, vertical and distant state that considers public health and vaccine policy to be a truth that does not need to be explained or shared. ".

But the curves are reversing. But why? 

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Level of information, a strong lever on intention to vaccinate

According to Ifop, 65% of French people are in favor of vaccination, but this proportion rises to 79% among those who feel well informed about the vaccine, and falls to 49% among those who feel poorly informed, a 30-point difference.
Among hospital professionals, 82% say they are in favor of vaccination. There are 91% among those who feel well-informed about vaccination, and only 70% among those who feel poorly-informed, a difference of 21 points.

Rather encouraging survey results, despite the low availability of vaccine doses in France, the risk of emergence of more contagious variants and the new mistrust of the AstraZenaca vaccine. The risk of undermining the effectiveness of vaccination is monitored by the European Union's pharmacovigilance plan. Its aim is to reassure and reassure, and to become a central element of health safety.

Other measures have been put in place to support the vaccination plan: some thirty centers in France collect reports from healthcare professionals and patients alike on possible adverse reactions following vaccination. Every week, the French medicines agency, Ansm, provides a national update on the issue. Health agencies keep a close eye on any undesirable effects of vaccinations that have not already been seen during clinical trials. 

There is also the Vaccine Confidence Project which is conducting a worldwide study to track public sentiment and emotions regarding current and potential measures to contain and treat Covid-19.
Through a combination of population surveys and social media monitoring and analysis over time and space, this year-long global study examines the perception and sentiment of Covid-19 social distancing measures and potential medical tools worldwide. Public opinion trends are therefore tracked worldwide to identify changes in perceptions, behaviors and concerns about the pandemic. Data is collected on attitudes towards Covid-19 treatments and vaccines. This data is used to support public engagement strategies and strengthen preparedness for vaccine introduction. The aim is to identify "confidence levels" in vaccines, in the hope that public health services will then better understand the reasons for different attitudes, and be better equipped to respond.

Provisions in line with words Antoine Bristielle and Thierry Beaudet of Mutualité Française, for whom the remedy is clear: only education and transparency will restore the French people's confidence. " We need to fight doubt with transparency. Explain the research methods used for this new vaccine, report on the tests carried out and hide nothing about possible side effects.

Vaccines: the key to overcoming the epidemic

72% of hospital professionals and 68% of the French consider that vaccination is essential to overcome the epidemic. The reasons given are that 50% of hospital professionals and 55% of the French want to protect themselves from Covid-19, and 46% of hospital professionals and 37% of the French want to protect others from Covid-19.

The motivations of hospital students differ slightly: first and foremost, they want to protect others (70%), they also consider vaccination essential (61%), and they also want access to different activities if these become conditional on vaccination (59%). The desire to protect others is also the second reason given by working people (54%), and having access to different activities the third (44%).
The French are realizing that no one is invulnerable to this disease. "explains infectiologist Benjamin Davido to the newspaper " The virus wakes up as soon as barrier measures are weakened. Today, however, we're in the third wave, with the impression of a never-ending pandemic. Opinion is therefore shifting, with the desire to get out of this crisis outweighing any fear of the vaccine. "

With the promise of millions of vaccines delivered in April, soon nearly 500,000 people will have access to vaccination every day. 

IFOP survey methodology
The survey was conducted among two samples, one for the general public and the other for hospital professionals: 1035 people, representative of the French population aged 18 and over and 5250 hospital professionals. General public: interviews were conducted by online self-administered questionnaire from March 16 to 18, 2021 / Healthcare professionals: interviews were conducted by online self-administered questionnaire from March 8 to 17, 2021.

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(1) Ifop survey for Journal du Dimanche conducted by online self-administered questionnaire from November 26 to 27, 2020 among a sample of 1,013 people, representative of the French population aged 18 and over.

To go further :

  • The Mutuelle nationale des hospitaliers has gathered the reactions and comments of healthcare professionals on this subject, at a round table discussion :

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