What are the consequences of covid for people suffering from obesity?
Develop a severe form of the virus and die. It has been a year since we explained that obese people are more vulnerable. Moreover, when we came out of the first confinement, people with obesity were among the vulnerable and therefore had access to isolation and to a medical certificate. September arrives and the state decides to put everyone back to work. And there, obese people disappear … The league against obesity has therefore passed before the Council of State which, with the advice of scientists and researchers, proves us right and reintegrates people suffering from obesity into those to be protected and stay isolated. The Council of State has therefore spoken. And the figures are there: almost half, 47% of patients in intensive care and 40% of people who have died from covid in hospital are obese. The group of researchers around obesity (Afero) is clear: obesity increases mortality by a factor of 2 to 4 depending on the studies. However, we are now being told that obese people can be vaccinated at the same time as people aged 50 and over, in phase 3 scheduled for June. For reasons of efficiency and ethics, people suffering from obesity must be vaccinated very quickly.
Ireland is confronted in a major way with the English variant of the covid. And for the past week, an Irish medical collective has observed an increase in the severity of contagion in people suffering from obesity and from an early age … We can fear the same situation in France, right?
Yes. The English variant has been found to increase the severity of the disease from an early age in obese people across the Channel. And France will not be spared by this variant.
How do you analyze the government’s vaccination strategy?
Today a real question arises for us of both effectiveness, as long as we have not vaccinated people who are obese, we will not have the effectiveness of preventing confinements. We will not be able to take the French population out of the state it is in since the criteria are hospitals. As long as they are congested, we will have a shutdown economy. Not only is this not effective, but it is also a question of ethics. Following the last intervention of the Prime Minister who declared that the vulnerable people are the first concerned and that they had to be very quickly vaccinated, the orientation council of the vaccination strategy took a part of the vulnerable by calling them the “ultra vulnerable”, particularly those with renal failure and people with cancer. We really wonder today if pathologies represented the associations concerned within this council. If this is the case, does that mean that we must now belong to Parisian circles to obtain consideration at the highest level of the State to be vaccinated? It would be extremely serious. If we are at the time of choice, what could be avoided in the intensive care units will not be avoided for the vaccination. It is unthinkable to be forced to choose between vulnerable and vulnerable!
How do you explain this turnaround?
We are told that there will be a shortage of vaccines. But how is it that a US federal government today is pushing now in its phase 1A, so starting today, to vaccinate all people suffering from obesity? I recall that in the United States, these people represent 42% of the population, against 15% in France. They will have to explain to me how the United States can vaccinate 42% of their population and that we cannot vaccinate 15% of the French. We live with vaccines what we experienced with masks. When there were no masks, we were told that it was not necessary to wear them. Today we have no vaccines and rather than admit it, we are told that phase 3 is sufficient for obese people. Priority people in phase 1 (cancers under treatment, renal insufficiency) represent 800,000 people. And the obese people are 7 million. The calculations are quickly made: if there is a shortage of vaccine, this large part of the population is assured that it is no longer among the people at high risk. We have the impression that this government is sending the French back to back. These are unacceptable practices.
What are your means of action?
We speak in the press, we write columns. We have set up collectives, wrote to the Prime Minister, to that of Health… We had a very laconic answer: obese people are in phase 3. Without explanation.