The French vaccination campaign against Covid-19, criticized for its slowness, takes a new step this week. From Monday February 22, general practitioners will receive doses of AstraZeneca. Nearly 29,000 have volunteered to vaccinate a limited number of patients. The green light will be given on Thursday.
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Each doctor will only have one vial of Astrazeneca, or ten doses of vaccine. General practitioners are therefore slowly entering the vaccination race. We still have to wait, explains Jean-Paul Hamon, president of the Federation of Doctors of France: “We can see that production capacities are increasing, but for the moment we are forced to be content with what we have.”
It will therefore be necessary to make choices and identify priority patients. “These are people who are between 50 and 64 but also have a long-term condition, comorbidity or overweight, indicates Jacques Battistoni, president of MG France, the general practitioners’ union. So these are people who are more at risk of developing a severe form of the disease. ” Once the patients are targeted, they still need to be voluntary, but also available.
General practitioners will be faced with some logistical constraints. “The vaccine is not the easiest to use, considers Jacques Battistoni. It comes in a ten-dose vial and once you have opened the vial, if you leave it at room temperature, you must take your doses within six hours or you will lose your vial. ” All the appointments must therefore be made on the same day, but this is a challenge that nearly 30,000 doctors are ready to take up.
Above all, insists Jean-Paul Hamon, we must forget the bad reputation that the Astra Zeneca vaccine is starting to have on its side effects. “Frankly, it is still a vaccine which, from the first injection, is quickly effective, protects 70% against serious forms and with the booster it protects 84%, so it is a vaccine which is nevertheless very effective and which will help curb the epidemic, defends the president of the Federation of Doctors of France. It is time to communicate on AstraZeneca and say that it is a good vaccine, that it is necessary to vaccinate, that one should not hesitate to be vaccinated and that it is not because we are going to do 24 at 48 hours of fever in one in five cases that it is a bad vaccine, on the contrary. “
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The contribution of general practitioners may, hopes Jean-Paul Hamon, give the campaign a boost. For the moment only 2% of the French population is immune after having received two doses of vaccine.