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If the French distrust vaccines, it’s because they distrust their politicians | Laurent-Henri Vignaud

Although it’s easy to exaggerate the problem, the French appear to be among the most ‘vaccine hesitant’ in the world

In the land of Louis Pasteur, pioneer of microbiology, the people are shunning vaccination. Or at least that is what polls over the past decade suggest, putting France among the countries most dubious about vaccination, alongside Bosnia-Herzegovina, Japan and Mongolia.

France is far from being the only place affected by “vaccine hesitancy”, as the World Health Organization (WHO) describes it. The phenomenon has been gaining ground in the west, and more broadly in the developed world, for a simple and paradoxical reason: thanks to the benefits of immunisation and rising standards of healthcare, the notion of a life-threatening epidemic has until recently seemed distant – opening the way for the luxury of fearing vaccines themselves.

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