Olivier Véran castigates the “doubt” on vaccination and does not rule out an extension of the health pass

France has “Avoided the worst” this summer, thanks to the acceleration of the vaccination campaign and the implementation of the health pass, estimated Thursday, August 26, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, during a press briefing. If the fourth wave of Covid-19 seems to have stalled in recent days, “The epidemic is not yet behind us”, he cautioned, however.

Vaccination delay in overseas territories “Will have killed and kill” again, lamented Mr. Véran, criticizing the persistence of vaccine mistrust: “Fear of the virus, yes, fear of the vaccine, no”. The fourth wave, which started in July, is “An epidemic which kills mostly unvaccinated, hospitals are full of unvaccinated, deaths affect unvaccinated”, he insisted, regretting that“A significant part of the population doubts the vaccine, its effectiveness and thinks that there are other ways to fight the virus”.

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In a city, “If we hadn’t been able to count on the vaccine, the fourth wave could have been the worst, with tens of thousands of additional cases per day, severe cases en masse, hospitals could have been overwhelmed in a few weeks , it did not happen and we have serious reasons to believe that it will not happen ”, he said.

Priority to the two million unvaccinated French people

Mr. Véran estimated that the target of 50 million first-time vaccines will be reached in the first week of September but the government “Wish to go beyond”. Nearly 60% of 12-17 year olds are already vaccinated, and “For the remaining 40%, it will be easier” by the campaign planned in schools at the start of the school year. But for the minister, “The top priority is the two million elderly or sick French people who have not yet been vaccinated ».

Mr. Véran has, moreover, affirmed that a third dose “Will have no impact (…) in terms of health “. “If you have your health pass, whether you are going to take your reminder or not, you will keep the benefit of the health pass”, he detailed.

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Another announcement: for people vaccinated with vaccines recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) but not by the French health authorities – as is the case with Russian and Chinese vaccines – they will be able to obtain a health pass French on condition of receiving an additional dose of RNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna).

The Minister of Health has also challenged a number of lies about the vaccine. “No, messenger RNA vaccines do not modify the human genome”, “No, the vaccine does not interfere with the fertility of women”, he detailed in particular.

Possible extension of the sanitary pass

The health pass could be extended beyond November 15, “If the Covid did not disappear from our lives” by this deadline set by law, said Mr. Véran. In this case, “We would need a new law, which would be debated again in Parliament”.

The minister said that “The last reluctance is falling in the face of the success of the health pass” which, associated with a “Efficient testing system and mass vaccination”, a « allowed to cross the summer without confinement despite a wave [due à] highly contagious variant ».

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Mandatory, since July 21, in places (culture, leisure, sports, trade fairs, etc.) accommodating more than 50 people, the health pass was extended on August 9 to access to hospitals, except emergencies, bars and restaurants, to large shopping centers by prefectural decision … It will be imposed, as of Monday, on the employees of the places concerned.

Concerning nursing staff, “Refusal to be vaccinated will not result in any sick leave”, warned Mr. Véran. Checks will be carried out to verify that the employee has not benefited from“Stops of convenience”.

The World with AFP