The President of the Republic has announced the end of reimbursement for “comfort” Covid tests. The vaccination obligation for healthcare workers, the strengthening of border controls and the extension of the health pass are also part of the measures announced by Emmanuel Macron.
The measures are strict, but the president has no shortage of arguments. “Fearsome and extremely fast”, the Delta variant is progressing at full speed. It represents 40% of contaminations in France. In the country, eleven regions are seeing their incidence rate increase, with particularly strong epidemic dynamics in PACA and Île-de-France.
To fight, only one solution is effective according to the Élysée: the vaccine. This divides by 12 the power of contamination of the famous Delta variant and prevents 95% of serious forms of the disease. ” The vaccine remains the only way to protect yourself and others. We must move towards the vaccination of all French people because it is the only way to return to normal life », Summarizes Emmanuel Macron.
It is true that for the President of the Republic, ” the vaccine strategy is a success “. Nearly 36 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and nearly 28 million are fully vaccinated.
But mistrust remains important among the French. Almost 40% of them remain reluctant, which is ” huge ” in the eyes of Jeremy Ward, sociologist at Inserm.
End of free “comfort” tests
An opinion visibly shared by the Head of State, who decided to tighten the screw. Vaccination will be made compulsory for nursing and non-nursing staff in hospitals, clinics, retirement homes and establishments for people with disabilities. In short, for all professionals or volunteers who work in contact with the elderly or frail, including at home.
From this week, border controls will be stepped up for nationals from countries at risk. From July 21, the health pass will be extended to places of leisure and culture. From August, the pass will apply in cafes, restaurants, medico-social establishments and in long-distance transport.
Finally, “comfort” PCR and antigen tests, namely those that are not linked to symptoms or contact cases, will be paid for in the fall. The presidential objective is clear: it is ” to encourage vaccination rather than the multiplication of tests “.
The measure speaks volumes about the state of mind of the executive. Free anti-Covid testing for all was a French exception, but it was paid more and more. Each PCR test is billed 49 euros to Medicare. The antigen test, when carried out in a pharmacy, costs 25 euros to Medicare.
Turn to the vaccine
Problem: the French are doing more and more. After peaking at 4 million in early April, the number of weekly tests started to rise again in early July. According to figures from the Dares, it is currently close to 2 million. In question, the impact of the Delta variant and the implementation of the health pass.
The cost to Social Security is far from negligible. After spending 2.2 billion euros in 2020, it plans to spend 4.9 billion euros this year. That is more than the 4.6 billion euros mobilized for vaccination in 2021.
However, as explained by Professor Yves Buisson, president of the Covid-19 cell of the Academy of Medicine, ” we do not know what part of the tests are carried out for diagnostic purposes and for personal convenience … But this proportion remains high and there are more and more people who prefer to be tested to obtain the health pass “.
And the expert added: ” Let everyone do what they want, but stop funding the tests of convenience of those who refuse to be vaccinated. If they prefer to pay more, too bad for them. But many will find it expensive and turn to the vaccine “. A prediction that clearly did not escape Mr. Macron.