Vaccination against Covid-19 should be mandatory for everyone in France from age 12 upwards, the French academies of medicine and pharmacists have recommended.
In a joint statement published on Friday, July 9, l’Académie de Médecine and l'Académie de Pharmacie called for mandatory vaccination not only for care workers - which government ministers have said is likely to be introduced in the coming weeks - but also for everyone eligible over the age of 12.
It said: “For carers and professionals in charge of elderly and vulnerable people, mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 is required due to principles of solidarity and reciprocity. Each carer has committed to do everything they can to ‘firstly, do no harm’.”
The statement said that anyone over the age of 12, who is medically able to have a vaccination, should do so.
It said: “[This] constitutes the only realistic option in terms of personal responsibility and supportive involvement, allowing us to protect our health, the health of others, and achieve collective immunity.”
The academies said that they believe the Covid-19 vaccine should be considered on the same level as the 11 other vaccines that are currently mandatory for children attending school in France.
These comprise vaccines against polio, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, haemophilus influenzae bacteria, pneumococcus and meningococcus C, diphtheria, and tetanus.
The statement said: “Effective and well-tolerated vaccination can control a severe, potentially fatal infection that is uncontrollable by all other means. [Therefore] Covid-19 has all the characteristics justifying mandatory vaccination.”
It comes after the head of France’s rural mayors, Michel Fournier, also called for mandatory vaccination for everyone earlier this week.
A recent poll by Elabe for BFMTV found that 61% of the public in France were in favour of making vaccination mandatory for eligible adults and teenagers.
But so far the government has rejected calls to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for everyone.
Last week Health Minister Olivier Véran again said: “We will not force people in France to get vaccinated; vaccination will not be mandatory for the general population.”
Mandatory for care workers?
Making vaccination mandatory for health care workers and elderly care home staff has been discussed regularly in France in recent weeks.
Medical authority La Haute Autorité de la Santé and government advisory committee le Conseil Scientifique have both stated that they are in favour of the move.
The academies are also in favour; they stated that this should be introduced in tandem with “a national communication” campaign and “targeted education about shared responsibility, avoiding any stigmatisation, within the context of democratic involvement”.
A “vaccination pass should show proof of people’s respect of this obligation”, the academies said, and called for this kind of pass “instead of a health pass”.
Getting vaccinated is also a “duty of international solidarity in view of certain underprivileged societies, to be able to benefit from vaccination”, it said, meaning that people in richer nations with access to vaccination should get a vaccine as matter of duty, given that many people in poorer countries still do not have this privilege.
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