The associations of mayors and rural mayors warn about the disparities in access to vaccines in the territory and about the difficulties encountered by the municipalities which the State has criticized for the multiplication of vaccination centers.
You called on the government. What are you facing in the vaccination campaign?
André Laignel The problem was to know where the vaccination centers should be installed, and how many per department. In some, like mine, it worked out quite well, because the prefect listened, and we succeeded in making the proximity meaningful. But this is not the case everywhere. We have a lot of feedback from mayors who consider that access to vaccination centers is very problematic for many of their fellow citizens who have no means of locomotion. This is not only true in rural areas, it can also be true in lower-income neighborhoods.
Our interactive map. Vaccination against Covid-19: where is your department?
How do you explain these inequalities?
André Laignel Instructions not to overdo it were given. In some places, the pressure of elected officials was strong enough and listened to to override and that the proximity of the centers is maximum. The government has sometimes criticized them for this, which is unacceptable when the state is clearly unable to control the logistics. It is clear that we cannot set up vaccination centers in all the municipalities. But in rural departments like mine (Indre), we have nevertheless set up 14 centers, while in many others they are reduced to three. I make an almost permanent criticism of this government, not only on health issues: its management system consists of squaring everything up, whereas on the contrary it would take a little finesse … Very often, it is therefore not adapted to the terrain.
You also have to face the shortage of vaccines …
André Laignel After calling on the French to be vaccinated en masse, they are asked to be patient. It breeds anxiety, anger and violence. It is difficult to have a precise vision of the rest. We have been in the same problem since the very beginning of the pandemic. Without local communities, many caregivers would have found themselves without masks. And it was the municipalities which were the fastest to produce it, which were subsequently penalized the most, since they were not reimbursed, unlike those which had done so later. The same could be said for the tests. Since there have not been enough tests or no test centers… Communities have had to ensure that they are put in place, in partnership with health actors, including by lending staff. With vaccination, we face this same logistical flaw. The State is incapable of clearly trusting the local elected representatives, it tries to manage it like the generals in 1914 before the arrival of Clemenceau … The staff which takes care of the stewardship, that did never worked.
What is the nature of the expenses that you must incur in the vaccination campaign? What does the State say to you?
André Laignel Where a hospital is located, we proceed through a partnership with the town hall. In my city, we provide staff, and the hospital center takes care of the rest. When there is no hospital, the municipalities provide the staff, mainly administrative, but also premises. To this must be added maintenance costs, technical interventions, such as disinfection costs. No commitment was made on the slightest consideration of these financial expenses. We make up for the absence of the state, but it does not take it into account.