In a column published on the website of Parisian, you are taking a stand in favor of anti-covid vaccination. Why did you wait today to express yourself on the health crisis?
Dr Irène Frachon: I haven’t done any public intervention on covid so far, because I think we have a panel of specialists who speak very clearly on the subject. But I saw a recovery from the Mediator case on social networks to support the anti-vaccine discourse.
My name was mentioned in sentences like “I’m sure Irène Frachon would agree “ with anti-tax statements. So I wanted to cut short the recovery of the Mediator case against the general interest.
Why is the Mediator affair regularly used to support speeches of defiance against drugs?
Dr Irène Frachon: The Mediator affair was a wake-up call on the confidence placed in official speeches, in health authorities and in the medical world in general.
Especially since other scandals on the bankruptcy of pharmacovigilance followed, such as the Dépakine or Androcur affair. Since then, it has been used as the symbol that no one can believe any more and in particular that the anti-covid vaccine is not safe.
I am not going to attack people who doubt and I am not criticizing their mistrust. I even share it. But to make people believe that getting vaccinated and taking Mediator would be the same is a lie. It is a fallacious and dangerous speech.
To read also: Mediator: the history of the fight of Dr Irène Frachon
How do we know that the Mediator and the anti-covid vaccines are not comparable?
Dr Irène Frachon: The principle of evidence-based drug evaluation showed that the Mediator was a danger. This same principle shows, on the contrary, that vaccination against covid is extremely effective and relatively free of side effects.
There are serious effects, even tragedies. It is out of the question to conceal them but they must be studied in full transparency and fully understand what are the side effects and the benefit-risk balance.
I will take a very simple example: people who drive cars take risks all the time. They know they can die of it and therefore they are careful, they do not drive in their car when there is ice, nor when they are alcoholic and they do not drive at 200 km / h.
They weigh the risks and benefits to know when to take it or not. It’s the same with therapeutics: you have to understand the risks and the benefits. And what is certain today is that vaccination will get us out of a social tragedy.
In this case, do you think that this vaccination should be made compulsory?
Dr Irène Frachon: I am totally in favor of large-scale vaccination, as strong as possible. Ideally, 100% of those vaccinated should be reached!
It would be regrettable, but not scandalous in my opinion, if in order to protect people, their freedom and their way of life, we could consider an obligation. And as a caregiver, now I know the vaccine obligation with that of hepatitis B.
And to continue on the metaphor of the car, we did oblige the wearing of the seat belt, which was also very contested in its time.