Since the start of the vaccination campaign in France, 50.8 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Some 12% of French people remain unvaccinated and, among them, many fragile people. If the 70-80 year olds are vaccinated at more than 97%, the over 80 years are indeed only 86%. In total, some 2.2 million elderly or co-morbid people are still not vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Health.
“The absolute priority is to reach the vulnerable, fragile”, affirmed last week on LCI the president of the orientation council of the vaccine strategy, Alain Fischer. “For me, this is the number one priority because these are the people who are at risk for serious illness. They are very at risk, ”he insisted.
“On a plateau since spring”
To reach these audiences, who are often very isolated, the government has for several months put in place a strategy of “going to”: information campaigns, SMS or emails addressed to the people concerned, calls by certain pharmacies of their patients, door door-to-door carried out by town halls holding a list of vulnerable people in their municipalities …
But that was probably not enough. For those over 80, “we have been on a plateau since spring,” laments Olivier Guérin, president of the French Society of Geriatrics. “Incomprehensible”, according to him, “that we cannot vaccinate populations at risk in a much more massive way”, as is the case in particular in Quebec or in Spain.
The explanation lies in particular in the construction of the healthcare system which differs depending on the country. In Spain, for example, all individuals are attached to health centers and have all been contacted by these centers to be vaccinated. France, on the contrary, has a significant part of its population which does not have attending physicians.
“Identification and information”
“With a very contagious delta variant and the added seasonal factor, this can become potentially explosive”, worries Olivier Guérin. “The risk is that the contaminations go very quickly and that we arrive at a saturation of the hospital systems”, he adds.
This scenario remains on the table, despite recent rather optimistic projections from the Institut Pasteur in particular. “A whole series of elements can lead to a resumption of the epidemic”, notes Simon Cauchemez, modeler at the Institut Pasteur. “If we do not expect to have to reinstate measures such as confinement or curfew, it is clear that in certain scenarios, we could end up with 100,000 people hospitalized cumulatively this winter,” he notes. “Because if there is a resumption of the epidemic, it will result in an increase in infections and the health impact will then depend very strongly on the vaccination coverage in the most vulnerable”, adds the epidemiologist.
Vaccination of the elderly (…) is a priority objective for the weeks to come.
It is not so much the threat of a new wave that worries, but the risk of “permanently having serious cases hospitalized”, underlines for its part the infectious disease specialist Odile Launay. To limit the transmission of the virus, it insists on the necessary maintenance of barrier measures.
The government, it assures not to give up reaching the fragile public. “Vaccination of the elderly (…) is a priority objective for the weeks to come”, supported Tuesday the Ministry of Health in a press conference. With the Ministry of the Interior, he will soon send instructions to prefects and regional health agencies to “speed up” the vaccination of this age group: “actions of identification and information”, he said. promised.