On the eve of a health defense council devoted to Covid-19, Monday, December 27, and faced with the meteoric progress of the Omicron variant, around fifty health professionals are writing an open letter to Olivier Véran, the Minister of Health.
In this text published by the Sunday newspaper, on December 26, they share their « Concern about the current level of viral circulation of the coronavirus among children and adolescents of school age ». They remind that « Since the beginning of November, more than 300,000 children and adolescents have been confirmed positive for Covid-19 », that “Hospitalizations of children in conventional and intensive care units have exceeded the peaks of all previous waves, with more than 800 children under 10 and 300 adolescents aged 10 to 19 hospitalized in six weeks, and these figures do not stop increasing « . They warn against the‘ »Congestion of pediatric hospital services » and remind « Hospital pressure » and the « Very significant overload of city medicine ».
They criticize the lack of resources « Deployed so far by the Ministry of National Education to curb the epidemic in schools, whether to combat the airborne risk of contamination, or to organize effective testing campaigns » and ask for support « Health management in schools » by the Ministry of Health.
These professionals recommend a postponement of the start of the January 3, 2022 school year and a massive use of distance education, « Until the return to health indicator thresholds defined publicly ». They ask to be associated with « The development of a new health protocol in schools, based on effective measures, triggered by epidemic indicators, known and anticipated » and want to raise awareness « Educational bodies on aerosol transmission and the practices to be adopted to limit the risk of airborne contamination of the virus ».
Finally, they ask the Ministry of Health for a renewed communication effort. « To make families aware of the proven risks of Covid-19 for children » and an « Fight against disinformation on the epidemic situation among children and against the denigration of the vaccination campaign ».
Green light for childhood immunization
This call is published as France reached 104,611 new cases on Saturday, Christmas Day, a threshold unprecedented since the start of the epidemic in March 2020, according to Public Health France. A level that has doubled in three weeks. The meteoric progress of the new Omicron variant raises gloomy projections a few days before the transition to 2022. « The realistic scenario is that in mid-January we [soit] to 200,000 contaminations a day ”, estimated the infectious disease specialist Benjamin Davido, Friday, on CNews. For its part, the scientific council raised the risk of a paralyzed society due to an increase in work stoppages and« Absenteeism ».
Faced with the acceleration of the Covid-19 epidemic, France started the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 on Wednesday. Children » at risk « , likely to develop severe forms of Covid or living with immunocompromised people, have already been vaccinated since December 15.
The government had prepared the spirits for several days for a generalization of the vaccination to all the children, on the basis of voluntary service, but it awaited the green light of the authorities concerned. It is done, since after the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) and the High Authority for Health, the orientation council of the vaccine strategy gave a favorable opinion on Wednesday. « The current context of strong viral circulation reinforces the need to vaccinate children of this age group without further delay », writes this one. « Children attending primary school are, in fact, the population among which the virus circulates the most ».