Due to a decades-long crisis of confidence in vaccination, in 2017 France extended the number of mandatory early childhood vaccines from 3 to 11. To describe the opinions of hospital staff physicians (HSPs) regarding this measure, quantify the proportion who would have preferred measures based on education, and study the factors associated with the latter opinion. Cross-sectional nationwide survey with a standardized questionnaire in 2018-2019 among HSPs in 14 French public hospitals. The factors associated with HSPs' preference for education and persuasion over mandatory vaccination were analyzed with simple and multiple Poisson regressions. The analyses included 1,795 HSPs (participation rate of 86%). Among them, 84% considered the extension of mandatory childhood vaccination essential given the epidemiological context at the time; in a later question, 40% would have preferred education and persuasion. Multiple regressions showed that the latter tended to be younger and less trustful of sources of information about vaccination. They were more likely to think that information on the rationale behind the national vaccination policy lacked clarity and that the extension of mandatory vaccines was not essential, even in the current epidemiologic situation. Although most HSPs agreed that the extension of mandatory childhood vaccines was essential, some were ambivalent about its coercive philosophy. Further research is necessary to better understand the reasons of this ambivalence. A fraction did not understand the French vaccination strategy well. Efforts to explain its details to HSPs and an overhaul of their initial training on vaccination are still needed.