“ JI’m a little early “, apologizes Françoise D. arriving at the town hall of the 3rd arrondissement of Paris, Monday, January 18. This retiree comes to be vaccinated against Covid-19 on the first day of the opening of the vaccination campaign for people over 75 years old. “I am very happy to have celebrated them in November”, smiles Françoise. If, on the announcement of the arrival of the first doses of serum in France, she felt “A little apprehension” faced with a product produced faster than usual, the desire to “Return to normal life and the desire to be able to travel” finally got the better of his hesitation. Like her, 54% of French people now want to be vaccinated, according to an Ifop poll cited by the Parisian Sunday 17 January. They were less than 50% in December.
If Françoise arrived three quarters of an hour before her meeting, it is because she has in mind the difficulties encountered before winning this precious time slot. An obstacle course started at the opening of the appointment bookings, Friday January 15. The septuagenarian went to the Santé.fr site, then to Doctolib, to try to book a timetable in the 16e arrondissement, where she resides. Problem: “Several centers were offered but there was nothing for my neighborhood. ” Embarrassed, she tries to contact the town hall of the neighboring town of Boulogne-Billancourt, which asks her to call the vaccination center directly, without success. “I ended up telling myself that I would go to a center in the provinces, why not to Nantes, or to Saint-Nazaire, just to go out! ” she says, not without humor. She finally managed to enroll in the 3e borough. “You have to persevere a little”, euphemistically an agent of the town hall.
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“If I had been 90, I don’t know how I would have done”, Françoise breathes, thinking of “His older friends who are not connected at all”. Waiting on a chair installed at a good distance, another retiree, coming from 11e arrondissement, did not find an appointment in its neighborhood either. On the Santé.fr site, several of the 19 centers open on Monday are already full for several weeks. This is also the case for the town hall of 3e, where we indicate that “All the appointments offered in January are reserved, as well as those of the first two weeks of February”. It is necessary to count “A month of waiting” to get a new one.
“We are rationed”
For its part, the regional health agency of Île-de-France indicates that 8 centers out of the 109 open in the region report a “Overbooking”, that she plans to “Pay by sending people to other centers or by postponing the appointments by a few days”. But in Paris concerns are already pointing to future traffic jams, linked to deliveries of doses of vaccine, distributed to each district in proportion to its population, but in insufficient number. “We are rationed”, summarizes Ariel Weil, elected from Paris Center (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements). The city of Paris should receive 10,000 doses in the week. “But we expected 50,000 to 60,000”, specifies the city councilor. The city, home to 170,000 people over 75, must engage in apothecary calculations. “10,000 doses per week, that amounts to around 80 doses per day and per center, it is not enough. At this rate, we will finish vaccinating in September ”, deplores Anne Souyris, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of public health.
Françoise was able to make an appointment for the two necessary injections, the first on January 18 and the second, about a month later, on February 15. “For now, all people who have made an appointment will be able to have two doses”, explains Anne Levieux, deputy to the town hall of Paris in charge of seniors. But the shortage is likely to have repercussions “On the deadlines to obtain a first appointment”. This difficulty further lifts the veil on the State’s shortcomings in the organization of the vaccination campaign, coupled with the delay in deliveries of “Three to four weeks”, announced Saturday, January 16 by the Pfizer laboratory.
In total, in France, 5 million people over 75 are eligible for vaccination, as well as 800,000 people with “high risk” pathologies (cancer, renal failure, etc.). The government hopes to achieve between 2.4 million and 4 million vaccinations by the end of February. The objective may be difficult to achieve in these conditions while time is running out and different mutations of the virus threaten to develop rapidly in the territory. In the 3rd arrondissement, the mayor Ariel Weil confesses “Shared” between the satisfaction of having started the vaccination and a regret: “We could have started faster and above all stronger. “
Liberal nurses overworked
In the centers, health professionals, doctors and nurses, organize themselves to avoid wasting doses, taking into account the logistical difficulties associated with Pfizer’s serum. One vial contains six doses, all of which must be administered within five hours of thawing. In the 19th arrondissement of Paris, at the end of the day, Micheline Scemama accompanies her husband who has come to be vaccinated. For her, too, making an appointment was not easy. “My son-in-law helped us, and I myself assisted my sister and my brother-in-law, who are older, and do not get by with Doctolib”, she confides. Micheline is not yet 75 ” but almost “, and would like to be vaccinated alongside her husband. “We live together, it’s more logical”, she judges. Luckily: one person withdrew during the day. After talking to a doctor on site, Micheline was able to receive an injection, thus preventing the dose from being lost.
” I am tired “, breaths a caregiver after the last injection of a day which began at 6:30 am Practicing in liberal, she did not hesitate to answer the call to help with the vaccination. But “Between our rounds with our personal patients, screenings and vaccines, it’s a lot of work.” The nurse believes it is ” (his duty “, but would like “More recognition”, she who has “Not stopped working” since last March and has not received a Covid premium. ” It is unfair “, she blurted out. “We are volunteers, but the vaccination should not take too long, we need time for our own patients. Preserving them also relieves the hospital. ”