French Senate to debate Covid vaccine side effects after public concern

The French Senate is due to discuss the issue of Covid vaccine side effects after a petition was tabled calling for an investigation into the matter.

It comes despite the petition garnering only 33,000 signatures, well below the 100,000 needed to guarantee a debate in the Senate chamber.

The speed with which the petition, the third in recent weeks on the topic of vaccine side effects, attracted signatures was reportedly a factor.

the petition on the Senate Online Petitions website called for a Senate inquiry into the side effects of vaccination. It was opened on January 12 and has so far collected 33,623 signatures.

Many complaints quoted by the author of the petition include recall that in December 2021, the medical authority ANSM told the Senate that it “seemed concerned” about the high number of reports of side effects from the Covid-19 vaccine during a Senate hearing.

He also said that authorities such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are among the global agencies to have published reports of serious side effects.

Christelle Ratignier-Carbonneil, Director of ANSM, told the Senate during a Dec. 1 hearing, 2021, that the increase in reports of treatment-related side effects in France is “not abnormal at all” because it occurs in the context of some 52 million people benefiting from a complete vaccination regimen. At no time did she mention being “worried” about the level of side effect reports.

This seems to contradict the assertions of the author of the petition.

ANSM stated that “Since the start of the vaccination campaign, 80,775 cases of adverse events have been reported in Bordeaux, Marseille, Strasbourg and Toulouse. In total, more than 97,463,100 injections have been performed as of December 30, 2021”.

He added that “the majority of adverse events were predictable and not serious”.

In addition, EMA says:

“More than 735 million doses of vaccines have been administered to people in the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) in early January 2022.

“The licensed COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. They have been evaluated in tens of thousands of clinical trial participants and have met EMA scientific standards for safety, efficacy and quality.

“The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is continuously monitored and evaluated.

“The vast majority of known side effects from COVID-19 vaccines are mild and short-lived. Serious security issues are extremely rare.

Online petition platform

The Senate’s e-petition website allows citizens to create their own petitions, with Parliament required to debate them when they reach more than 100,000 signatures.

This happened recently with the case of Morgan Keane, the man who was killed by a hunter while standing in his own garden. A petition calling for stricter hunting regulations reached the 100,000 signature mark and sparked the creation of an investigation and campaign that is still ongoing.

Read more: Friends of man killed by hunters fight to change French law

The subject has been identified as being of “special public interest”, the Senate reported PublicSenat news site.

“A serene examination of this subject”

The Conference of Senate Presidents indicated that the Assembly would debate the subject “without delay”, and “to instruct the Social Affairs Committee to determine the work to be carried out”.

However, rather than setting up a commission of inquiry, the committee was assisted by the Office of Science and Technology, Opecst (the parliamentary office for the evaluation of scientific and technological choices).

The Opecst is made up of 18 deputies, 18 senators and a scientific committee of 24.

Catherine Deroche, president of the social affairs committee in the Senate, said she chose the Opecst path “because of her knowledge of the controversy”. [surrounding this subject] and its ability to include various components of the scientific community, the Office seems to offer ideal conditions for a serene examination of this subject”.

The Senate also said that although the petition did not reach 100,000 signatures, the speed with which it gathered more than 33,000 supporters was also proof of its importance.

He also said he wanted to discuss the issue as soon as possible, so as not to see the subject suspended at the end of February because of the upcoming presidential election.

A similar petition has also been launched in the UK and has so far garnered over 67,000 signatures.

The UK government responded to the petition on January 5, saying:

“The government has ordered a public inquiry into the pandemic and has not planned an inquiry into vaccine safety. Our COVID-19 vaccine monitoring strategy ensures continuous safety monitoring. »

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