On this freezing day in February, the fire truck, which contains the precious doses of vaccine, stops at Patay, north of Orleans. This rural commune of Loiret is the first to benefit from the itinerant vaccination campaign set up by the department in 16 towns in total.
The challenge ? “Go as close as possible to the territories”, as explained by its centrist president Marc Gaudet, to meet people who have difficulty getting around and therefore getting to the six fixed vaccination centers, located in the administrative centers of the department. On that day, 60 doses will be given to people with an average age of 86 years. In the van, the medical team is made up of doctors and nurses from maternal and child protection (PMI).
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The mayor (without label) of Patay, Patrice Voisin, opened the multipurpose room to welcome vaccine candidates. The municipality has privileged “The over 75s, among the most fragile and all those with mobility problems”, details the elected representative, who immediately underlines: “We could have brought in more than 200 people, but we were limited by the stocks provided by the Regional Health Agency”.
At the entrance to the room, municipal agents check the temperature of new entrants. They also help those who have difficulty moving, under the gaze of firefighters. Their presence reassures Michel Pinault, 87 years old. “ Anyone who feels unwell will be in good hands ”, he smiles behind his mask. His wife was not called for lack of space. ” I was on the waiting list. I am here thanks to a last minute withdrawal ”, confides this former farm worker. Suffering from heart failure, he had been waiting for this moment for a long time: “ It’s great that vaccination is coming to us! Without this, there would be many elders in our villages who would have passed through the drops ”. Reassured, his five children called him one after the other. Then an agent pinned the pin on his jacket: ” I got vaccinated! “.
Sitting on a nearby chair, at a good distance, Régine Dreux, 92, patiently patient. Coming on foot in the early morning, this retired teacher would not have had the strength to take her car to go to a center in the metropolis of Orleans.. Not ” very fanatic, a priori, of vaccines ”, yet she agreed to participate in this campaign, ” not especially for me but out of civility and as a precautionary measure for others ”.
Since the start of the pandemic, the old lady has decided to self-confine, a decision “Sometimes difficult to live”. She has not seen her children and grandchildren for many months. “Fortunately, the phone does not carry the virus”, she slips.
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Things could finally change for Régine. If all goes well, she will receive in a month the second dose which will allow her to regain a semblance “Normal life”. In fact, after this first tour scheduled until March 12, the van will start another round in stride, following the same route, for the second injection. The nonagenarian is delighted, while showing a certain resignation.
For her, like many people that day, the context still seems very uncertain. For their part, elected officials do not hide a certain frustration. They would have liked a larger traveling campaign. And not to be forced to be satisfied with the 60 doses available per day and per municipality, at least for the moment.