Volume 36, Issue 14 Pages 1801-1916 (27 March 2018)
Why France is making eight new vaccines mandatory
Jeremy K. Ward, James Colgrove, Pierre Verger
France is one of the countries with the highest prevalence of vaccine hesitancy in the world. In an attempt to raise vaccination coverages, the French government made on January 1, 2018 eight more vaccines mandatory in addition to the three required until then. The process that led to this policy choice is of particular interest. We describe how vaccines became contentious in France and how French authorities came to view mandatory vaccination as the solution to the rise in vaccine hesitancy. In a bold move, French public health authorities turned to a new type of institutional device grounded in the ideal of democracy and public participation to political decision-making: “a citizen consultation”. This consultation anchored the idea that legal coercion could be the solution to France’s crisis with vaccines. Time will tell whether the French extension of mandatory vaccination will reduce tensions around vaccines.