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“I do it so as not to infect the youth”

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With the delivery of the doses, the vaccination campaign started massively this week in France in institutions for the elderly. In Paris, as elsewhere, vaccines are eagerly awaited by residents and relatives anxious to protect them from Covid-19. Report in an Ehpad in the 17th arrondissement of the capital.

A good smell of crepe escapes from 26 rue Médéric, an Ehpad in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. In the common room, a tube of the Gispsy King – “Volare” – sounds gaily in the ears of the few residents comfortably installed in the middle of the light garlands. Not really the image we have of an establishment that accommodates dependent elderly people. The atmosphere of the great days? “No, we politely indicate at the reception. The pancake workshop takes place every Thursday. And the music is very often.” However, it is a special day within the establishment: the doses of the anti-Covid vaccine expected for weeks have finally been received. “We are very happy for our residents, we saw the arrival of vaccines like the Holy Grail, coward with amusement Claire Maurel, the director of the establishment. We even took pictures!”

A common room where residents of the Korian nursing home gather, in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, on January 21, 2021. © Aude Mazoué

Convincing the tenants of the private nursing home of the validity of the vaccination was not a problem. “This does not fall within our mission”, we emphasize to management. “But we are fortunate to have a full-time doctor within our structure who was able to accompany each resident, abounds the director. He was thus able to answer the questions which mainly came from families and allay their fears”. Only two people out of the 98 in the residence opposed it. One for ethical reasons : she has never been vaccinated and does not wish to be more vaccinated against Covid-19. The other prefers to wait: she judges that it is still too early to receive the vaccine. For the rest of the residents, the arrival of the vaccine is a relief. “Vaccination is here experienced by many as a duty to which everyone must submit for the sake of solidarity, continues the manager of the place. It is also for some a way of protecting members of their own family and that of others.”

“I do it so as not to infect the youth”
Isabelle, 89-year-old retiree: I don’t care if I have the Covid because my life is now behind me. “I have already had it in an asymptomatic form. But I want to be vaccinated because I do not want to infect young people.” © Aude Mazoué

“We should have started by vaccinating young people”

A feeling shared by Isabelle, an 89-year-old pensioner. “I hope this vaccine will save lives, explains the one who arrived among the first in the room converted into a vaccination center for the occasion. I don’t care if I have the Covid because my life is now behind me. Moreover, it has already had in an asymptomatic form. But I want to be vaccinated because I do not want to infect young people. I also think that we should have started by vaccinating young people, “says the octogenarian. which has yet paid a heavy price linked to the virus. Her husband died of the coronavirus just fifteen days after they moved into the residence in March. Between mourning and the restrictions imposed by the protocol, “the situation is not easy to live with every day,” she admits, her eyes clouded with tears.

Fortunately, in the face of adversity, surges of solidarity were created between residents. “The confinement allowed us to get closer, assures Martine, 71 years old, suffering from Parkinson’s, also arrived in March in the establishment. We supported each other a lot. I made friends, we talk a lot, that helps us through difficult times, ”she says, looking tenderly at Isabelle, her neighbor in the chair and on the landing. For Martine, the vaccine above all signals the hope of a return to normal life. “I have always liked vaccines, she confides with a mischievous little smile. Probably because I was a pharmacist … I hope this one will allow me to go out and see my seven little ones again. -children of whom I have been deprived so much. ”

“I do it so as not to infect the youth”
The Pfizer vaccine, which consists of 6 doses, measures only a few centimeters. © Aude Mazoué

Recalcitrant nursing aides

Each outing of a few hours with a loved one comes at a high price for retirees. The sanitary protocol imposes an isolation in room of one week which only a negative PCR test can put an end. So for Françoise, 91, whose father worked as a micro-biologist at the Pasteur Institute, there is no doubt about the vaccine. “This is the only solution to get out of this crisis and end the restrictions which are not pleasant to live with on a daily basis.”

The plush Korian establishment located in the upscale districts of the 17th arrondissement of the capital, like many other nursing homes, has not been spared by the pandemic. About twenty residents were reached. Fifteen have died. Strict application of the protocol is a necessity in order to survive. So here small vials from Pfizer laboratories are welcome. “At the beginning, there was not a great enthusiasm of the residents for the vaccine, remembers Christophe Gauthier, coordinating doctor. But as soon as it was necessary to collect the consents and things became more concrete, the answers were flocked. I did not expect so many positive responses! ” The practitioner regrets, however, that some members of the medical staff do not share this same enthusiasm. “Caregivers are very reluctant to be vaccinated. It’s a shame because when you’re a caregiver, I find that you have to make this individual commitment to the service of the collective, which is more important when you works with fragile people, concludes the doctor who remains confident. The dialogue remains open and things should be done little by little. “

“I do it so as not to infect the youth”
The mayor of the 17th arrondissement, Geoffroy Boulard and the coordinating doctor of the nursing home, Christophe Gauthier. © Aude Mazoué

An “incomprehensible” lack of anticipation

In a friendly atmosphere, the doctor turns to the residents – nothing but women among the volunteers – to inoculate the precious serum. With a gentle gesture, he pushes the needle into the shoulder of a first patient, indicating that she shouldn’t feel anything. Indeed, the retiree did not feel anything. So much sweetness, “we would ask for more”, jokes one of the caregivers who came to accompany the residents. “Do not worry, there will be the recall in 21 days,” replied the doctor mockingly.

While the caregiver continues the vaccinations, the mayor of the 17th arrondissement of Paris, Geoffroy Boulard, arrives in the small vaccination room. The city councilor insisted on being present alongside the residents for the second vaccination session only in his district. And a little for the press too. “We are happy when things are going under excellent conditions,” he says. But the good humor of the councilor was short-lived. “The lack of anticipation of the health authorities is still incomprehensible, fumes the elected. We were asked to open vaccination centers. Everything was ready, then we were told that there was no vaccine. , without any explanation. We can still wonder about the vaccine procurement strategy of the Regional Health Agency and the government. “

After the mayor’s departure, the residents leave the vaccination room one by one to return to the common room, where pancakes continue to be served to the sound of festive music. The newly vaccinated residents settle around the busy cook. Such an ordeal was well worth a few sweet treats.


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