Covid-19: Should “Suitability” Tests Be Paid?

Fewer swabs for more syringes! “Aware of the low efficiency of attempts at persuasion through pedagogy” to be vaccinated, the National Academy of Medicine recommends no longer reimbursing the tests, PCR or antigens, performed for “Personal convenience” : group events, trips …

“The diagnostic tests – to identify the disease after finding symptoms – or screening – in the context of tracing – would remain free., specifies Yves Buisson, epidemiologist and president of the Covid-19 group at the Academy of Medicine. But all the others, made for personal purposes, would become chargeable. Because there is now a free, safe and available alternative: vaccination. “

→ EXPLANATION. What do we know about the effectiveness of vaccines against the Delta variant?

“This is a question that will probably arise around the start of the school year”, considered Gabriel Attal, government spokesman, Monday June 28 on Franceinfo. The time in particular to allow millions of first-time vaccinated to benefit from the second dose necessary for the validation of the health pass.

Very strict reimbursement criteria

Public Health France (SpF) indicators confirm the explosion of tests carried out without any suspicion of infection or of a rise in the contamination chain. Admittedly, the number of weekly screenings counted between June 14 and 20 (1.9 million) is twice less than the peak of the epidemic, at the beginning of April (3.9 million).

But over the same period, the national incidence rate was divided by nearly 20 – from 363.2 to 18.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants – and the positivity rate by 11 – from 9% to 0 , 8%. An effect of the health pass which “Encourages more and more people to use screening tests and repeat them at will”, according to the Academy of Medicine.

The institution’s recommendations on non-reimbursement would, however, have potentially harmful effects. Only those justifying a medical prescription or an exchange with the Health Insurance, responsible for tracing, would no longer be eligible. “Waiting for the medical consultation can sometimes delay the completion of the test by several days, not to mention the inhabitants of a medical desert., warns Michèle Legeas, teacher at the School of Advanced Studies in Public Health (EHESP). In addition, certain tests, without prescription or instruction from Health Insurance, are carried out in good faith and allow reasonable doubts to be raised about possible contamination. There is no reason to charge them. “

“Make the health pass a vaccination pass”

The specialist in the analysis and management of risky situations is hardly more convinced by the effectiveness of the proposal: “The end of the reimbursement could change some hesitation or reluctance to be vaccinated. But that would only concern some of the undecided: those who most want leisure time or frequent crowded places. “

“Anything that can stimulate vaccination is positive”, conversely defends Philippe Amouyel, professor of public health at the Lille University Hospital. The epidemiologist calls for “To fire all wood” in favor of the bite to avoid a fourth wave. “For the past fortnight, we have the impression that the Covid has disappeared from people’s minds”, he worries.

Over the past three weeks, the average number of first daily injections has been cut by more than two – 176,000 administrations on June 23, unheard of since March. A worrying decline while half of the French have still not received the slightest dose.

→ DEBATE. Can we make vaccination compulsory?

“The enthusiasm for immunization is waning dangerously, with the risk of never reaching the target of 80% coverage, deplores epidemiologist Yves Buisson. All measures are therefore good to make vaccination essential, and gradually make the health pass a vaccination pass. “


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