Home Health DEBATE – Should we let the Omicron variant circulate?

DEBATE – Should we let the Omicron variant circulate?


Gauthier Delomez
, modified at

9:53 p.m., January 07, 2022

Are the restriction measures exceeded in the face of the Omicron variant of Covid-19? More than 75% of French people benefit from a complete vaccination schedule, the wearing of a mask is extended to the youngest, and outside in some cities, and yet the contamination figures are breaking records every day in France. This Monday, 400,000 cases were finally detected in France. In Europe Evening Friday, the epidemiologist Yves Buisson, pro-vaccine, and the essayist and non-vaccinated economist Philippe Herlin debated on the need or not to let circulate this variant, probably much less dangerous than its predecessors.

“The vaccine was never intended to prevent transmission”

On vaccines, “there was never any question of efficacy on contamination, on transmission. This vaccine is used to protect against disease, not against transmission”, first recalled Yves Buisson at the microphone of Europe 1. “Then, we realized that these vaccines protected against transmission, but not 100%,” he continued, stressing that the injections are effective against severe forms. However, the different variants have changed the situation. “Variants escape the protection conferred by vaccination more and more. We have the example of the Omicron variant which is transmitted fairly well in vaccinated people, less however than it does in unvaccinated people”, explained the epidemiologist.

If the entire population was vaccinated, Yves Buisson assured that the virus would have been transmitted much less easily. An argument refuted by Philippe Herlin, relying on the examples of Israel and Gibraltar. “The vaccine protects serious cases, but there is still an explosion in the number of contaminations,” he noted, adding “that with Omicron, we have a virus which we know is not dangerous. This means that we are dealing with an almost inactivated virus, that is to say a traditional vaccine. It would be better, ultimately, to promote the circulation of Omicron “.

Contamination with Omicron, a natural vaccine?

The economist also hypothesized to “tell people to take off the mask in the subway, on the train. The government would say (to the French) ‘Infuse yourself en masse with Omicron, you will all be vaccinated’, he said. There would no longer be any need to carry out an mRNA vaccination to the population “, in a quest for collective immunity. To which the microbiologist Yves Buisson replied that “it is not realistic”. “The strategy which consists in letting go of the virus, we have seen it in Great Britain, in Sweden, we have seen the damage that this has given”, assured the epidemiologist.

However, Yves Buisson affirmed that for a fully vaccinated population, the significant contamination does not translate into the number of hospital admissions. “There, indeed, we can let the Omicron variant come in, we can remove our masks, come out in boxes, etc.”, he added, specifying that there were all the same the first “very serious” cases. Omicron identified, “requiring hospitalization, or even entry into intensive care”. If Philippe Herlin relied on the example of South Africa, where the wave is decreasing, Yves Buisson indicated that the South African population had obtained collective immunity post-infection.