This is one of the paradoxes of the vaccination campaign. In the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, where the indicators are at alarming levels – incidence rate of 350 per 100,000 inhabitants, 90% occupation of intensive care beds -, the vaccination rate of the population shows 4.1%. At the same time, Brittany, where the circulation of the virus is significantly less, shows a rate of 4.4%.
It did not take less for some elected officials to propose redistributing the doses of vaccine to the most affected areas. “It is not abnormal that we are planning to vaccinate more quickly and more massively in the places which are the most contaminated, estimates Jean Leonetti, the mayor of Antibes, at the microphone of franceinfo. We have to be inequitable ”.
According to this logic, Brittany, and particularly the department of Finistère, should give part of its doses to the regions of the South and the East. Odile Launay, member of the Covid-19 vaccine scientific committee, finds this approach logical to avoid new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
“This is an opinion that I share. It is true that today, we can clearly see that in the west of France, the virus circulates very little whereas we are much more affected in the East and in particular in the South East ”.
? Should the vaccines be redistributed to the most affected areas? “In theory, this is an opinion that I share,” says Odile Launay. With 2% of people vaccinated, “vaccination has no impact in France” for the moment
– franceinfo (@franceinfo) February 22, 2021
Loïg Chesnais-Girard, president of the Brittany region, was also in favor of such a measure on Tuesday evening on France 2 : “Of course, if this can help overall and there are ways to play for vaccines that are now in our country to vaccinate others, it is interesting and we must look at it. But in a context where we do not abandon our responsibility to vaccinate the most vulnerable in Brittany. “
Strict territorial equality
But the executive still refuses to apply such an approach today. “The rule set by the government is strict territorial equality”, reminds the Ministry of Health. Concretely, the doses are distributed according to the proportion of the target population (number of people over 75 and number of health professionals over 50) in each region rather than the health situation.
“The situation varies so much every day that it is anyway complicated to adapt the deliveries in relation to data which continues to evolve”, blows one avenue Duquesne. “There might even be more interest in vaccinating first where the virus does not circulate much, because that is where it can explode later”, suggests Daniel Floret, vice-president of the technical committee for vaccines of the High Authority of Health (HAS), questioned by franceinfo.
A differentiated strategy according to the regions would inevitably raise questions “of an ethical nature”, considers Pascal Crépey: this would mean that the French would not have the same access to the vaccine depending on where they live. And today’s issue, “Is that we have very few vaccines” and vaccinated, only 3.8%, recognizes Odile Launay. ” To have a significant impact of vaccination on the circulation of the virus, as it can be seen in Israel, at least 25% of the population should be vaccinated ”.
Reallocations “on a case-by-case basis”
The fact remains that over time, the government multiplies the exceptions to the rule of equality. From January 10, the first 50,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine were sent as a priority to the regions “in which the epidemic is most active: Grand Est, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, and Provence- Alpes-Côte d’Azur ”. Last Saturday, Olivier Véran, Minister of Health, announced the sending of 4,500 additional doses in the Alpes-Maritimes. And maybe soon in Mayotte.
At the Ministry, however, the idea of a change in doctrine is refuted. “We are not changing the distribution strategy. What we were asked to do is simply identify the stocks that we could reallocate. But this is not a general policy, it is on a case by case basis ”.
Possible disparities at the departmental level
Moreover, specifies the executive, the additional doses that were sent were not confiscated in certain regions to give to others. “These were extra doses of Ehpad distribution flow. We were therefore able to send the surplus to regions in difficulty ”.
To date, the state should continue to distribute doses to the regions according to its initial strategy. Dependent for the regional health agencies to distribute them then, at the local level, according to the departmental health context. But as with any political decision, nothing is set in stone, and changes cannot be ruled out once priority populations have been vaccinated.
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