ReportageA quarter of those over 80, or 1 million people, are not immune. In the Alpes-Maritimes, a local campaign is reaching out to people who are furthest from the major vaccination centers.
With its colorful facades, its Romanesque bell tower, and its singing fountains, Saint-Sauveur-sur-Tinée looks like postcards on this May afternoon. Laundry flies from the windows, the sun stretches over the cobblestones, the hours tick by to the silent rhythm of the sundials. At the edge of a deserted lane, four retirees chat under a large lime tree, contemplating the peaks of the Mercantour. For them, vaccination against Covid-19 is already history: “We all had our two doses”, launches Gérard Rami, 78, in a blue plaid sweater, a “Corsica” cap on his head. « We are a little more reassured, we no longer put on the mask ”, he explains, specifying that the little band wore it “Very seriously” until everyone is immune.
In this small village of 300 souls, located more than an hour’s drive from Nice, the first vaccines “A little while to arrive”, but the vast majority of over 75s did not hesitate to reach out. “We are saved! “, welcomes this former educator, while admitting that it has not really changed his daily life. His friend Jean-Pierre Gaidon was also vaccinated despite “These doctors who follow one another on TV to say everything and its opposite”. Seated in his white plastic chair, a copy of Current values on his knees, he has only one regret: the delay in starting the vaccination campaign. “We in Europe had to negotiate the price of vaccines. Pff! “, over it.
Vaccinate the remaining 25%
Since the start of the epidemic, nearly 2,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the department – in hospital and in accommodation for dependent elderly people (Ehpad) -, with a third particularly deadly wave in the spring . Set up in mid-March, containment has reduced the incidence to 30 cases per 100,000 inhabitants today against 100 on average in France. At the same time, vaccination has made it possible to protect a large part of the vulnerable populations: in the Alpes-Maritimes, 75% of those over 80 have already received at least one dose – in line with the national average. The challenge now: vaccinate the remaining 25%, while a glass ceiling seems to be looming in the statistics.
At the national level, this represents 1 million people, to which must be added 15% of septuagenarians, that is to say 800,000 additional people. “It’s a real problem and a real risk”, admits Olivier Guérin, geriatrician and member of the Covid-19 scientific council, which is taking shape “A rather disturbing plateau”. Among the unvaccinated, there are “Those who do not want” – with “A force of conviction which passes through general practitioners” – and those furthest from the health system, who “Combine age, health problems and precariousness”, explains the doctor. “They are the ones who pay the heaviest price”, regrets Olivier Guérin, calling on the municipalities to use their “Heat wave register”, to identify isolated elderly people. “Vaccinating those over 18 is good, it will allow them to party, to go on vacation. But vaccinating an 88-year-old person, alone at home, saves his life ”, hammers the doctor.
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