Tribune. Vaccines … finally, word is out, and the news is mounting. We had expected them, now we are told. However, vaccines are not enough. They are an opportunity, of course. It is still necessary to seize it. Indeed, what is a vaccination campaign worth if it is not followed by the majority? Several surveys reveal that nearly 40% of French people do not want to be vaccinated against Covid-19, while this figure is around 25% on average worldwide. The stakes are immense for the public authorities: how to act in the face of this mistrust?
Perhaps it would be necessary, from now on, to involve citizens in decision-making, by participating in the definition of the types of priority people and territories? An educational effort around the vaccine to come seems appropriate to allow everyone to understand the issues. Individual responsibility must go hand in hand with fraternity, otherwise this crisis could be perpetuated.
These are therefore some avenues that we would like to present here, to answer this question, apparently simple, but in reality eminently complex: who to vaccinate first? According to what criteria? How to prioritize all this? We have proposed a fair, acceptable and effective vaccination policy in Terra Nova (“A vaccination policy by zones”, October 2, 2020). While the first two imperatives ensure social cohesion, the third is vital to minimize the number of severe cases of Covid-19, and thereby shorten this period of economic and social distress.
Insufficient equity and fraternity
So far, it is fairness that has received the most attention. Thus, at European level, for example, the EU is committed to ensuring a proportional distribution of the vaccine among the member states. In addition, everyone agrees to give priority to the most vulnerable people (because of their age, or their co-morbidities), and to caregivers. These two points of agreement are important to safeguard the European project. Yet fairness and brotherhood alone cannot eradicate the virus.
In a July report, a consortium around the Scientific Council identifies an additional category of people on which it is essential to emphasize: “connectionists”. Behind this strange word, a reality: some people are at the heart of many social interactions. Those are “Staff in contact with the population: traders, public service counters, banks, teachers, hotel staff, restaurants, public transport, sex workers”. But why, then, make it a priority?
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