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Journal Articles Nature Immunology Year : 2019

Vaccine hesitancy and coercion: all eyes on France

Abstract

With record levels of vaccine hesitancy, France faces the challenges of the contemporary crisis of trust in vaccines in a heightened form. For this reason, a closer look at its situation helps to highlight some often overlooked factors behind the rise of vaccine hesitancy. The prevalence of hesitancy among medical professionals, and doctors in particular, is one of them. The changing landscape of vaccine- critical activism is another. The French context also underlines the limitations of the current tools available to public health actors. As in many countries, traditional top-down communication efforts have proved unable to restore trust in vaccines. This led French public health authorities to conclude that extending the list of vaccines required for daycare and school entry was necessary to reach satisfactory vaccine coverage. This extension of mandatory vaccination constitutes a live experiment to test the effectiveness of coercion in the so-called “post-truth era”. Where vaccine hesitancy is so prevalent, vaccine-critical arguments circulate widely and trust in public authorities is low, this type of measure could polarize attitudes toward vaccines. There is a risk that the public health authorities will become complacent and rely upon coercion to do all the work. Coercive measures must be part of a comprehensive plan aimed at restoring trust in vaccines and not just at increasing vaccine coverage. The goal should still be to build a healthcare system immunized against doubts about vaccination
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hal-02470716 , version 1 (15-01-2024)

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Jeremy K Ward, Patrick Peretti-Watel, Aurelie Bocquier, Valérie Seror, Pierre Verger. Vaccine hesitancy and coercion: all eyes on France. Nature Immunology, 2019, 20 (10), pp.1257-1259. ⟨10.1038/s41590-019-0488-9⟩. ⟨hal-02470716⟩

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