Covid-19: communities open the floodgates of vaccination



At the risk of exceeding their prerogatives, local authorities are relaxing the conditions for vaccination against Covid-19. For several days, elected officials from all sides have been getting impatient and taking initiatives in dispersed order. Some have indicated that they will no longer meet the age criteria set by the government.

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Thus, since Thursday April 29, the vaccination center of Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis) welcomes frontline workers, without age limit. “In order not to lose doses, in the event of an appointment cancellation, priority professions will be able to obtain an appointment”, he explained in a letter to the Ministry of Health.

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In the afternoon, teachers, cashiers, bus drivers, therefore tried to register. The day before, it was David Lisnard, mayor of Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes), who had authorized, in his city, the vaccination “From 40 years”.

Misunderstanding of doctors

Such decisions arouse the incomprehension of doctors. “There are still many, many priority people who are not vaccinated, begins Jacques Battistoni, president of the MG France union. On the other hand, I am surprised to hear that there would be so many doses to finish urgently. Concretely, as there are seven doses in a vaccine vial, we take the appointments in multiples of seven. In the event of withdrawals, other priority patients are called. At worst, we stay with an extra dose, but not 20 as we sometimes see fit. “

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Same tone from his colleague Luc Duquesnel, of the Les generalistes-CSMF union. “One of two things: either the vaccine pods are not that empty, or they are because they don’t have enough doses to offer. “ This doctor, who for several months denounces the opening of these large vaccination centers, does not endorse the response of the communities: “It is the elderly who present the severe forms of Covid and who must be protected as a priority. “

Communities do not have the right to interfere with state policy

Faced with these reservations, the sling of communities could fizzle out. Especially since legally, the case risks turning against them. “Mayors and communities do not have the power to upset the country’s vaccination policy, explains lawyer Nicolas Hervieu. Of course, the State relies on them for the logistical implementation of its vaccination policy – provision of administrative staff, premises, etc. -, but in any case does not associate them with its substantive decisions. “

A bit in the same way that communities are competent to manage the buildings of schools, colleges and high schools, but do not put their nose in the development of school programs.

“In the context of the health crisis, this principle was recalled by the Council of State on April 17, 2020”, he adds again. At the time, the judges were seized of the validity of a decree of the mayor of Sceaux (Hauts-de-Seine) which made the wearing of a mask compulsory. The magistrates had invalidated it. “They explained that the State can seek the help of mayors, if and only if their intervention does not undermine the effectiveness and coherence of the national strategy”, decrypts Nicolas Hervieu.

HAS recommendations

The lawyer goes even further and warns that the responsibility of communities could be “Seriously questioned in the event of a health accident”. Because unlike the sling of the mayor of Sceaux on masks in 2020, this time it is a question of inoculating a drug, without respecting the recommendations of the High Authority of Health (HAS). If a young patient were to experience significant side effects, “The community could see its responsibility engaged”, warns the lawyer.

This is not the first time that local elected officials have stepped up to the plate. Last March, the mayor of 7e district of Paris, Rachida Dati (LR), had already tried to pass in force on the vaccination of teachers. The Regional Health Agency (ARS) quickly regained control and canceled, a few days later, 150 appointments made by the mayor’s office, as the newspaper reported at the time. The world, sending the elected representative back in line: the communities are not competent to draw up the list of people who may or may not be vaccinated.

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