This is a turning point: during the government press conference on Thursday, November 25, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, indicated that steps would be taken for the vaccination of children, as is already done in the States. -United. A concomitant announcement with the green light given by the European Medicines Agency for the use of the Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 year olds.
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The executive will refer the matter to the National Consultative Ethics Council and then to the High Authority for Health. The time to deliver doses suitable for children, the vaccination will not start “Not before the start of 2022”, clarified Olivier Véran.
A new protocol
For now, the government is banking on a new protocol for primary schools. While the number of closed classes has doubled in a few days (8,500 according to the latest count), the government has also announced a change in strategy in the primary schools, the most affected. No more closure for a week from the first case. From now on, the device tested for weeks in ten departments is generalized: if a child is tested positive, the class remains “open” or rather closed the time to have his comrades tested. Students can only return to class with a negative result. Parents who refuse are required to keep their child at home.
The tests can be carried out at school or, for lack of staff able to carry them out, it will be up to the parents to take their child to a laboratory or a pharmacy. Parents who, says the minister’s entourage, will have to present the results and not a simple sworn statement.
The limits of the massive screening strategy
However, no additional test will be required in the following days. An aberration, denounces Guislaine David, the general secretary of the SNUipp-FSU. “Children should be tested every two days, to take into account the incubation time”, she pleads. The epidemiologist Dominique Costagliola does not share his concern. “You have to rely on the good citizenship of the parents, telling them to have their child tested again if he has a fever and / or a cough. In addition, studies show that children are especially infected in their families. “
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In any case, this change of protocol, which may seem “Paradoxical in the midst of an epidemic outbreak”, promises to be perilous, warns Stéphane Crochet, secretary general of SE-Unsa. “It poses problems in terms of understanding and acceptability on the part of families and risks causing tensions within the school. “
This development signals the failure of the massive saliva screening strategy: last week, 307,000 tests were offered but, due to the lack of consent from the families, only 141,000 were performed. Far from the weekly target of 600,000.