Covid-19: Will France vaccinate later?

Is France behind on its future vaccination strategy against Covid-19?

Awhen 15% of vaccines ordered at the level of the European Union will be allocated to France, in proportion to its population, this would not be enough to vaccinate the entire French population as soon as possible, as is the wish of our governments. If it is necessary and safe (this is another question that we will assess later, depending on the material elements available), getting vaccinated will not be an obligation in France at least. Nevertheless, the HAS (Haute Autorité de Santé) has just recommended to vaccinate as a priority the residents of EHPADs, on the front line of the victims of the current pandemic, with a third of the deaths.

For the future vaccination campaign, the health authority has therefore defined "Five progressive phases", on this basis of a voluntary vaccination. After health professionals and the elderly residing in EHPAD, either just under a million people, would come the turn "As soon as a larger number of doses will be available" people over 75 years old, then 65 to 74 years old with a comorbidity, then other people 65-74 years old, i.e. about 15 million people. The following phases are hypothetical, in view of the vaccine stocks envisaged.

But once defined who to vaccinate as a priority, the how is not mentioned. In the matter Germany seems to have a head start: although the vaccine should not be available across the Rhine until the first quarter of 2021, the country is already planning the infrastructure to receive patients. Such as the old Tegel airport in Berlin, transformed by mid-December into a large coronavirus vaccination center. With six centers, Berlin intends to be able to vaccinate 20 people per day. In addition to mobile teams, hundreds of centers are expected to be created across the country, including around 000 in Bavaria alone. The distribution of roles is clear: the federal state buys and delivers the doses, the Landers define the places and provide syringes, needles, dressings and antiseptic lotions.

Elsewhere in Europe, the vaccination campaign is starting to be organized. Spain has just divided its population into eight priority groups, from the oldest in retirement homes to the youngest. The vaccine will be administered in 13 clinics and health centers, the government has already said. Italy has pre-ordered 000 million doses and fifteen experts are working on how to route, store and then administer the doses in "vaccinodromes" and drive-ins, in addition to hospitals and doctors' offices. Across the Channel, Boris Johnson has just appointed a minister in charge of the vaccine, at least 165 vaccination sites being in preparation. Stocks of syringes, rubber gloves, alcohol swabs and containers for used needles are planned to administer the 42 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine delivered before the end of the year, followed by 4 million to be received by March 40.

And in France ? We do not yet know anything about the smallest logistical organization set up, between State, regions, prefectures, Regional Health Agencies, hospitals and doctors. Especially since France has still not been able, since the onset of the epidemic, to set up an operational mass testing process. Worse still: the use of saliva tests, simple and effective, in particular developed with the Montpellier University Hospital, has just been reserved for symptomatic people by the Haute Autorité de Santé. Why make it simple when you can make it complicated ? However, massive screening is clearly a necessity, to be in a position to avoid a possible third wave of Covid-19, and therefore a new reconfinement bringing the French economy to its knees.

Judikael Hirel

source: Le Monde

This article is republished from Selection of the day.

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