Covid-19: Senate rejects proposed law on compulsory vaccination



The covid-19 vaccine will not join the list of mandatory vaccinations. Senators did not adopt the bill tabled by the Socialists on October 13. Their group found themselves isolated. The government promises to continue on the path of education.

Another setback for the supporters of compulsory vaccination against covid-19 in the general population, in the same way as the 11 vaccines imposed on children born from 2018. The Senate did not adopt the bill “introducing vaccination mandatory against SARS-CoV-2 ”. The text, tabled by members of the Socialist Group at the end of August, was rejected on October 13 in public session, by 262 votes to 64. This parliamentary initiative will therefore not go further.

Only almost the entire socialist group behind the text voted in favor of the text, joined only by three colleagues from the center and the right. The other groups preferred to reject it. 14 senators, of various tendencies, chose to abstain. The government, through the voice of Adrien Taquet, has also expressed its opposition. “We prefer to convince than to coerce,” insisted the Secretary of State for Children and Families.

Last week, the text had already failed to convince the Social Affairs Committee in its vast majority. As of July 24, the Socialist senators tried to insert this provision by amending the bill establishing the compulsory vaccination for caregivers and the health pass. It was rejected by 262 votes to 76.

“A debate that now seems dated”

In the meantime, the country’s vaccination coverage has continued to increase, especially since the entry into force of the health pass, a tool that the government wishes to be able to use, if necessary, until July 31, 2022. A bill was presented in this sense on Wednesday. However, the effects of the health pass, which without telling people to go to vaccination centers, “are running out of steam”, according to Bernard Jomier.

The rapporteur, a member of the environmentalist and republican socialist group, recalled during the introductory debates on the vaccination obligation that there were still “9 million people to be immunized” against the coronavirus. “The truth of the matter is that covid-19 vaccines are effective, as few vaccines have been, that they are safe, and that they are our best weapon,” he said. argued.

Covid-19: “Vaccines are our best weapon”, says Bernard Jomier

No more than at the end of July, the Socialists were heard on the other benches on the need to introduce this obligation which they consider clear and egalitarian. Currently, only caregivers have had to comply. They are 99.4% to have done so, according to the Ministry of Health. In the other groups, many questioned the temporality of the general obligation. “It would relaunch a debate that now seems dated,” worried Senator Véronique Guillotin (RDSE, a radical majority group). “It will have a totally counterproductive effect and will focus more on the most refractory,” warned Senator LREM Martin Lévrier. Another recurring criticism heard in the debates: how to make sure that the obligation is fulfilled? “This could discredit public action,” warned Senator LR Philippe Mouiller.

Ecologists, communists and even centrists have insisted on the need for efforts to “reach out” to people absent from vaccination centers. “We now have to do it on a case-by-case basis, find human resources to find the last, who are not all antivax but simply distant ones. It is not a general obligation that will succeed, “defended Nadia Sollogoub (Centrist Union). Adrien Taquet has also tarnished his satisfaction with the French countryside, which resulted in “one of the best covers in Europe”. 15% of those over 80 are still missing. This is an even “lower” level than expected, he conceded. In his report, Bernard Jomier drew the bitter comparison with Spain, Denmark or Ireland, where 100% of this public received their doses. The general vaccination obligation would have the merit, according to its logic, of forcing the State to ensure an obligation of means. Adrien Taquet promised to continue “the outward-facing operations, by refining them even more towards the populations furthest from the care systems”.

Vaccine: “We must convince and not force”, insists Adrien Taquet

A doctor like other speakers, Senator LR Alain Milon said that being convinced by the principle of compulsory vaccination “was not enough”. He notably highlighted the many variants that could one day undermine this type of law. “It seems more judicious to align the vaccination against this Sars-CoV2 on the model of the vaccination against influenza, not compulsory but strongly recommended for the vulnerable people. The LR Group also convened the resolution adopted in January by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This calls on states to “ensure that citizens are informed that vaccination is not compulsory and that no one is under political, social or other pressure to be vaccinated”.

The Social Affairs Commission outraged by an argument worthy of “antivax”

The debate, which was well run, became tense at the end of the session, when an amendment to delete the provisions of the text was presented by Sylviane Noël (LR). It was co-signed by six other colleagues. This is not the aim of the amendment in itself, which has ignited the powder, a very clear majority of the hemicycle did not want the vaccination compulsory. This is the argument put forward in the subject of the amendment which was almost unanimously opposed (338 senators rejected it, against 5 in favor). The explanatory memorandum made particular mention of “genetic vaccines” or “placing on the market with provisional authorization”.

Patrick Kanner, president of the socialist group, “believed” that these “completely delusional” arguments were “reserved for Mr. Philippot”. “We are not in an experiment. They hold a marketing authorization, and a marketing authorization does not mean that the monitoring and pharmacovigilance processes are over, ”Bernard Jomier wanted to clarify, adding that the US regulator (the FDA) had definitively approved the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.

Compulsory vaccination: tension when considering an amendment

The LR group were not to be outdone. The president of the social affairs committee, Catherine Deroche deplored “explanations which are those of the antivax.” Alain Milon expressed his “shame” in the face of “completely inadmissible remarks”. As the procedure requires, Adrien Taquet also gave his opinion on the amendment. “I cannot let the hint on the experimental and uncontrolled nature of these vaccines pass in this assembly. “If we say I cannot leave such and such a thing, then, at that point, democracy no longer has any meaning,” replied Loïc Hervé, second signatory of the amendment.

While the Socialists were not supported politically in their proposal, their right of parliamentary initiative was nonetheless supported. Centrist Nadia Sollogoub sent a thought to her PS colleagues, victims of a “surge of intolerable threats”. Justice will also be seized. “We do not legislate on the audiometer or the sound level meter,” said the centrist senator.