The vaccination of adolescents has now been possible since Tuesday with the aim of the authorities to increase the collective immunity of the French to face Covid-19 and the threat of new variants such as the Delta.
Good start for the first injections in 12-17 year olds, provided that they are voluntary, that their parents agree, and in the presence of one of them.
Very motivated, Lea Lévy, 14, skipped school to get vaccinated at the Vélodrome stadium in Marseille, in order to “protect fragile members of (her) family and be able to go everywhere this summer”.
His mother, who is patient at his side, admits that she was “not really for” the vaccine but that she “let herself be convinced by saying to herself that otherwise we would never get out of it”.
Adolescents in whom vaccination is “very well accepted” are “force of conviction” for adults, said the Director General of Health, Jérôme Salomon, Monday on RTL.
At the opening of the meetings on Monday, there were 62,000 registrations under the age of 18, “it’s a very good surprise, a stronger membership than expected”, confirmed the boss of the Doctolib site, Stanislas Niox -Castle.
Teens were deprived of outings for months, during the second fall-winter confinement and then the April-May restrictions, and also victims of a reduced and intermittent presence in colleges and high schools. While about a third of French people have suffered from psychological disorders because of Covid-19, 40% of parents have noted signs of distress in their children.
Eager to have his European health certificate before a summer family vacation in Italy, Salvatore Tamborrano, 17, says he made “a citizen choice” to protect others, despite “some reluctance” from his mother about vaccination of the youngest.
The National Ethics Committee (CNE) recently issued a mixed opinion on the subject, wondering if there was “absolute urgency to start vaccination now” when it was possible to wait for the start of the school year.
“Is it ethical to make minors bear the responsibility, in terms of collective benefit, for refusing vaccination (or the difficulty of accessing it) for a part of the adult population?” the CNE in its opinion.
– “not much to want to do it” –
School bag on his back, Majid Sidebe, 12, was informed by the principal of his college and deems “important to be vaccinated so that France is free”, even if, in his group of friends, “we do not ‘ain’t much to want to do it “.
For the moment, the only injectable vaccine is that of the Pfizer-BioNTech laboratory, already widely used in the United States.
Adolescents generally develop less severe forms of Covid-19 than older people, but they are not immune to infection and participate in the transmission of the virus within the population.
Thanks to the extension of the vaccination campaign to adolescents, after the enlargement at the end of May to all adults, the French government hopes to significantly increase the threshold of immunity in the population.
“The more of us will be vaccinated and protected, the more we will manage to overcome the virus. So it is an important day in the history of our vaccine policy”, estimated Tuesday the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, while visiting a center in the 15th arrondissement in Paris.
Besides the desire for a quiet summer, he said he met teenagers “motivated” because “they want their high school, their college, next year, not to close.”
So far, nearly 60% of French people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, but less than a quarter (around 23%) are considered fully vaccinated.
According to the calculations of epidemiologist Pascal Crépey, the collective immunity threshold which would allow all precautionary measures (mask, barrier gestures and distancing) to be lifted is currently 66%.
But with the Delta variant (formerly said to be Indian), which is much more transmissible (+ 60% virality) and which has become dominant in Great Britain in a few weeks, the necessary threshold would increase to 86%.
In France, this variant currently represents “between 2 and 4% of positive cases” of Covid-19 detected, or “50 to 150 new diagnoses” per day, Olivier Véran said on Tuesday.