The French and the vaccine: I love you, me neither


How did France go from a very strong pro-vaccine position at the end of the 19th century to skepticism? The story of a long and turbulent history.

The French and the vaccine: I love you, me neither

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40% against. 47% for… These days, it is with the eyes of Argus or a political pollster, that we look at the appetite, more or less strong, of the French for the vaccine. A taste brought to undulate over the news, successes, incidents, false rumours. So it's also an opportunity to see what happened in the past, how over the long term, this relationship has also gone through ups and downs.

Once upon a time France who was excessively provaccine. The most partisan country even in Europe. As Bruno Latour wrote in his book on Pasteur, we were, like milk, “pasteurized”. By the turn of the 20th century, the “Pasteurians” had inoculated the French people with vaccine ideology. “They held all the places of power, the Academy of Medicine…

Consult our file: The challenge of the anti-Covid vaccine