Science

90% of adults in France should be vaccinated by September to return to normal, study finds

90% of adults should be vaccinated in France by September 1 to hope for a return to normal life, according to a study which notes that this rate is much higher than the share of French people saying they are ready to be vaccinated.

These new methods from researchers from the Institut Pasteur, Public Health France and the Haute Autorité de Santé assume that in the fall, the reproduction rate (R0) of the Covid-19 virus, without any epidemic control measure, will be at least equal to 3, as in the first wave. Even more likely to reach 4 due to the majority presence in the territory of the more contagious British variant. Currently, around 20% of French people have been infected with the virus.

In the first scenario (R0 equal to 3), it would be necessary that on 1 September 90% of over 65s and 70% of 18-64 years (i.e. 59% of the entire population) be vaccinated to allow the total relaxation of control measures and despite everything, maintain the number of hospitalizations of Covid patients below 1,000 per day between September 2021 and April 2022.

But in the second scenario, with the more contagious variant, this vaccination rate would be insufficient to remain below the threshold of 1,000 daily hospitalizations.

According to these models, it would then be necessary to vaccinate 90% of adults to allow the return to a normal life.

“If such vaccination coverage cannot be achieved, some control of virus circulation may need to be maintained, for example through test-tracer-isolate, protective measures (eg masks) and certain level of physical distancing, “write the researchers in the study posted online Tuesday.

But the vaccine intentions of the French are currently much lower. According to the latest Public Health France survey at the end of March, vaccination intentions were at best 79% for those over 65, falling to 36% for 18-24 year olds.

“Even in optimistic scenarios, the current levels of vaccine intentions in the French population may not allow a complete relaxation of control measures”, underlines the study, which then mentions the possible vaccination of children to achieve this return objective to normal life.

If only adults are vaccinated, “a significant epidemic is still expected in children, contributing to the infection of parents and unprotected grandparents”, explains the Institut Pasteur on its website

So “if it is shown” that vaccines are safe and effective in children, immunization of 60-69% of 0-64 year olds and 90% of over 65s could allow control measures to be completely relaxed, he adds.

At this stage, 9.5 million people have received a first dose of vaccine in France, and 3.2 million both doses.

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