France is a world leader in Covid-19 vaccine skepticism

Promising test results have led to hopes that a Covid-19 vaccine will soon be on the way. But will the vaccine be effective if many refuse to take it? The issue worries the French authorities, where the level of “vaccine certainty” is among the highest in the world.

A recent Ipos study showed that only 54 percent of French people say they would get a Covid-19 vaccine if there was one, the lowest number in any country surveyed.

“Acceptance of vaccination in general is lower in France than abroad, and even lower for Covid,” Antoine Bristielle, a social science professor who has researched attitudes toward vaccines in France, told AFP.

“We notice that there is an age factor: the older people are, the more likely they are to be vaccinated. There is also a gender factor because women agree less with the vaccine than men, and above all one of the main reasons for refusing vaccination is strong mistrust in political institutions and distrust of researchers. “

Research has shown that the uptake rate may need to be as high as 80 percent for a vaccine to end the pandemic, and some French politicians have suggested that the vaccine is mandatory.

“I am in favor of a mandatory vaccination if necessary,” Senate President Gérard Larcher said recently on French television. “When you are vaccinated, it is not just for yourself, it is a form of solidarity and protection for society as a whole.”

Meanwhile, on the streets of the capital Paris on Thursday, opinions remained divided.

“Maybe there are side effects that we do not know yet, like the normal flu vaccine,” said one woman, who refused to give her name. “We are still looking for a vaccine at any cost quickly, but do not mean it will be really effective. We know nothing about it at the moment, so I do not take the risk, it is safe.”

“If they do not want to do it, they do not want to do it,” says pensioner Marie-France. “But I will do it because I am 66 years old. My health is fragile and I will do it.”