The watchword of this pandemic is confidence! According to the latest polls, half of the French would not consider getting vaccinated.
Figures that place France at the top of the most resistant countries in the world, which is why Emmanuel Macron has decided that the public will participate in the reflection on the vaccine strategy.
Emmanuel Macron’s new idea is to involve citizens in the decision-making process. Everything that comes from above is now rejected by part of the population. We must therefore appeal to the French.
This is why a collective of citizens intended to reflect on the vaccine strategy for Covid-19 will be created in the coming weeks. The president announced it during his speech on November 24. The stated objective is transparency to bring down fears and fantasies around vaccines.
How this citizen collective works
This collective will be made up of 30 French people with anti-vaccines, reticent, vaccine pros etc….
These citizens will be in dialogue with the vaccine orientation council chaired by Alain Fisher, “Monsieur vaccine”. These citizens will not work in their own corner but in collaboration with the committee of scientists, the committee of local elected officials and the committee of stakeholders (associations, syndic, etc.).
Through them, the vaccine guidance council wants to identify the brakes, mistrust and acceptability of the French vis-à-vis vaccination. A priori they will also be a force for proposals. The goal is to put in place a strategy so that as many French people as possible get vaccinated.
A new procedure
This is not really new since in 2016 Marisol Touraine was already very worried about the mistrust of the French in the face of vaccines. She had created a citizen jury chaired by Alain Fisher. At the time, citizens had exchanged with scientists and participated with specialists in the development of proposals that had been submitted to the Minister of Health. One of the recommendations was compulsory immunization for children.
A useful collective at the time
The proportion of the proposals from this collective of citizens that was retained is not known. On the other hand, the collective complained in the press because their recommendations diverged from those presented to the public, in particular on their reluctance to vaccines containing aluminum. It is sometimes complicated to do participatory democracy at the national level. This is also what happened with the climate convention and the 150 people drawn.
A politically interesting tool
The idea at the base is attractive. When a citizens’ draw was announced, it was a way to earn points. The French then heard: “We will listen to you”. The problem is the result. With what happened with the climate convention, there is a certain mistrust. Some of the citizens who are neither elected nor specialists in the subject but who have been given a form of legitimacy have formulated proposals. They had been promised to apply them all.
However, today, this is far from being the case for many reasons. The problem is that the collective now has a media voice, its members are angry and turn against its creator, Emmanuel Macron. The balance sheet is politically rather negative.
Emmanuel Macron is he reproducing the same error with the collective on vaccines? Do the same causes produce the same effects?
Citizen collectives at all costs
This is clearly an admission of weakness by our leaders. Either the politicians who set up these collectives consider that they are disconnected from the population, or they do it in a demagogic way knowing that they will not apply their recommendations. In both cases it is serious.
In addition, can 30 French people be representative of the population?
These citizen collectives represent an affront in the eyes of elected officials, in particular to the National Assembly and to the Senate, which are supposed to represent the French people. Marine Le Pen, (Member of Parliament for Pas-de-Calais) explained what she thinks of this citizens’ collective during her visit to France Inter.
She is not the only one to have this opinion. The Republicans also wonder what is the legitimacy of these collectives which are not elected. On the other hand, on the EELV side, the process is rather popular. Julien Bayou thinks that it is a fabulous democratic tool provided that the opinions of citizens are retained. As was not the case for the climate convention, he considers the government to be undemocratic.
The conclusion is that neither the drawn citizens nor the opposition are satisfied. Emmanuel Macron is creating his own trap and it is not over to hear about this collective citizens on vaccines.