This November 12, 2009, Roselyne Bachelot, then Minister of Health in the Fillon government, responded to the invitation of the morning of Europe 1. She came to defend the vaccination campaign against the H1N1 virus. The minister tries to dispel doubts and promises that the vaccine is reliable. After all, it has already been administered to nearly 100,000 healthcare professionals. “I am here, I am Minister of Health, I am coming to tell you the truth, and I am coming to tell the French: faced with an influenza which can have fulminating forms, dangerous forms, they have a safe vaccine, they have a vaccine tested. “
“So you are taking risks earlier by getting vaccinated, on what, on the right arm? », Asks Jean-Pierre Elkabbach. The minister gives her advice. “So, it is better to be vaccinated on the arm where you do not write, so you have to be vaccinated on the left deltoid, since I am right-handed, like every time we have a vaccine, the doctors and the vaccinators know that very, very well… ”A few hours later, we find her in a gymnasium in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. The fateful moment arrives, and the cameras are there. Slowly, the nurse pulls up the minister’s sleeve and pricks… her right arm. Too bad for the little morning tips.
The refractory French
Roselyne Bachelot thus intended to convince the greatest number of the reliability of the vaccine. Several voices in the medical profession at the time expressed certain doubts, demanding a little more information on the composition of the product or the number of injections required. Above all, the distrust of the French is strong: between 60 and 65% of the population said two months earlier that they did not intend to be vaccinated. What was the surprise of Roselyne Bachelot by noting at the time the emergence of conspiracy theories according to which she would have been administered only physiological serum.
Another virus, same questions. The first injections against covid must begin in the coming weeks, for residents in nursing homes and their caregivers. But the specificity of the product, its technology and its very rapid development raise many concerns. Opinion polls are not much better than they were nine years ago. Nearly half of French people do not seem really ready to be vaccinated, according to the latest survey produced by Public Health France.
The question arose within the executive
A strange context that prompted the government to question the procedure to follow. Abroad, several leaders or former leaders have indeed decided to get bitten first. In the United States, President-elect Joe Biden and his predecessors Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all said they are ready to be publicly vaccinated against Covid-19. In Spain, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday he was ready to be vaccinated publicly.
The case of Queen Elizabeth is a bit special, since at the height of her 94 years, she is one of the priority people with her husband Prince Philipp (99), according to the British press. The queen should report publicly, in order to “encourage as many people as possible to be vaccinated”. In France, several local officials have called for doing the same. This is the case of socialist senator Hervé Saulignac, who volunteered as a “guinea pig”. In Marignane (Bouches-du-Rhône), the DVD mayor Éric Le Disses asked the government on December 8 to be vaccinated first, said Provence.
After some discussions between members of the government, and after having also received the wise advice of Roselyne Bachelot, the government line is today “very clear”, according to the statements of the entourage of the Prime Minister. In government, we stand behind the opinion of the High Authority for Health, unveiled on November 30, which also has the advantage of putting aside any political debate. “This opinion sets out a timetable that we will respect,” indicates the firm of Jean Castex. It serves as a scientific reference. We will start with the people most at risk, and gradually expand the target audience. The government will submit to this strategy. “
Ministers vaccinated like normal citizens
The government has effectively taken up the idea of vaccination in stages, reducing the number. Ehpad residents and their caregivers will be the first served, therefore. Between February and March, the over 75s, then the over 65s and the French with co-morbid risks will follow. “This is when the first members of the executive will potentially be affected. It will happen fairly quickly, ”said a ministerial source. At this stage, no precise instructions have been issued to those concerned on the procedure to be followed in terms of communication. A minister, according to our information, plans to make an exception: the Minister of Health. If Olivier Véran were to feel that his public and anticipated vaccination helped to convince the French, especially the elderly, then could he bow to the exercise.
The executive, by opting for this strategy, intends to defend a form of coherence. Some of the ministers, like the youngest of the government Gabriel Attal, left at the very beginning of December the idea of advanced vaccination for members of the executive. “It’s complicated to grant a privilege on the issue of vaccines, believes the entourage of the Prime Minister. There will undoubtedly be criticism whatever we choose. Ministers will be criticized either for not wanting to lead by example or for taking advantage of their position. “
Without forgetting the emergence of conspiracy theories, as was the case in 2009 and especially more recently, when many French and English-speaking Internet users relayed a video by Scott Reader, props in the cinema, showing the operation of syringes with retractable needles. At no time does the man mention the health crisis. Internet users took care of it for him.
In France, no renowned politician has so far expressed his outright refusal to submit to vaccination. But everyone goes there with their foot on the brakes. This is the case of Édouard Philippe, who is “not a big fan of injections” but who “knows what humanity owes to vaccines” and will get vaccinated. François Baroin, president of the Association of Mayors of France, recently confided to suffer from hypochondria and to be wary of everything, “including vaccines”. Marine Le Pen denounced the great “opacity” of the vaccination campaign.
Critics that can also be found on the left. Olivier Faure, the boss of the PS, regretted November 25 near the Figaro that the government gave the feeling of procrastinating on this issue. Sunday, the leader of rebellious France Jean-Luc Mélenchon went there with his own doubts, more significant. “This vaccine does not reassure me. But I say it: I don’t know. I am not an epidemiologist. I just know that a certain number of conditions are not respected ”, he regretted Sunday on BFMTV. And at the top of the state. “I will do it when it makes sense and it corresponds to our strategy,” had eluded Emmanuel Macron during his interview with Brut.
Could the “sense of responsibility”, which seems to hold the political class today concerning the administration of the vaccine, be crumbling?
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr