In the waiting room devoid of its magazines – health precautions require -, the crowd has decreased in recent weeks. “I have a quarter to a third of fewer patients compared to previous winters”, notes Doctor Bernard Pallier, square and reassuring silhouette, in his office located in downtown Nantes. “Thanks to barrier gestures, we have much less flu-like, gastroenteritis or bronchiolitis. This does not mean that the activity is less sustained! “
→ ANALYSIS. Covid-19: the vaccination campaign will be long
The big concern of the moment: the anti-Covid vaccine. “I spend well over an hour a day talking about it on the phone with my patients, he confides. My role is to sincerely advise them to get vaccinated, because that is the only way out. “
This 50-year-old himself received his first injection on January 14, in a center dedicated to liberal health professionals. Without any side effects. “Some patients are reluctant but above all they need to be reassured. Afterwards, I have one or two die-hards who cry conspiracy… ”
Simone, an elegant 83-year-old retiree, did not take long to make her decision. “I already get the flu shot every year, tells this former photographer, whose daughter is a pharmacist. Suddenly, I registered as soon as I could and I’m going this Wednesday ”.
→ EXPLANATION. Covid-19: how will the vaccination of people over 75 go?
She spent a lot of time on the modalities. “On the phone, I was told that it was reserved for health professionals, she remembers. Then I wanted to register through the Internet and I was not successful. Finally, I went directly to the vaccination center next to the CHU and I insisted on making my appointment there. “
“We have to go through this”
Vera, 80, intends to seek advice from the doctor. “At the beginning, I was not too decided because I thought that I was sufficiently protected by the mask, she admits. But now I think we have to go through it, for the good of all. Except that I don’t know how or when! “
Doctor Pallier readily admits navigating in “A big blur” since the start of the health crisis. “It started with a bad start on masks, tests and now vaccines, he lists. Many of my patients are ready to be vaccinated but are not yet a priority. This generates a lot of uncertainty. “
Reluctance to fight
This is precisely what worries François, a retired legal representative of 66 years, who annoys the slowness of the device. “Obviously I’m for the vaccine, he gets carried away. It is time for this crazy period to end. We absolutely have to speed up the movement… ”
Not so simple, when some are still reluctant, including in the health sector. “In my team, we are only four health professionals out of twelve to volunteer for the vaccine, regrets Christian, a 59-year-old physiotherapist in a clinic. I have a lot of trouble with this kind of wait-and-see attitude. Yet my own daughter had had a very serious reaction to the measles vaccine. But if we don’t set an example, who will? “
“A background of sadness”
While Thursday, January 14, Jean Castex broadened the priority audiences to sick people who are very at risk, the physiotherapist hopes that his wife, who suffers from the kidneys, is part of it. “I’ll see if the doctor can give him a certificate, he continues. We really want to resume a normal life and enjoy our grandchildren. “
For Simone, recently great-grandmother, these two injections also represent the promise of a smoother life. “Being a widow, I live alone, and I miss my cultural life”, she delivers, citing the cinema, concerts or conferences that animated her weeks.
“Isolation is hard to live with for the elderly, underlines Doctor Pallier. I am not prescribing more antidepressants but I observe a general sadness background. Many patients tell me that their lives have turned bleak. “
An expanding campaign
While in France the Covid-19 has already caused more than 70,000 deaths, the vaccination campaign takes a turn on Monday, January 18, with new priority audiences: those over 75 who do not live in nursing homes (5 million), to which are added 800,000 people with “high risk” pathologies, such as chronic renal insufficiency, cancers under treatment, or even trisomy.
On Saturday January 16, the American-German alliance Pfizer-BioNTech was reassuring, evoking a “plan” to limit to one week the delays in delivery of their vaccine – a delay of three to four weeks had been feared, due to “Changes in production processes” of the Belgian Pfizer plant in Puurs.