Vaccines: Nice speeds up logistics and speed

The sting, and immediately the applause. In a room at the University Hospital of Nice, the ceremony is far from intimidating Pierre Gilardi. “Not a bit of hesitation or stage fright”, assures the 82-year-old Nice resident of the nursing home integrated into the geriatric service of the Cimiez hospital. Pierre Gilardi may not have had the time to realize it, everything went so quickly. The vaccination was offered on Tuesday noon, the injection carried out less than twenty-four hours later under the watchful eye of cameras and elected officials. Pierre Gilardi, gray slipper and diamond patterned blouse, thus becomes the first patient to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in Nice.

“It is the beginning of a great hope”

The vials should not have arrived until next week. But on Monday, the city and its Alpes-Maritimes department went into the red. The incidence rate is 323 per 100,000 inhabitants, a figure twice as high as the national average. The fault, according to the prefect, “Attractiveness” of the Côte d’Azur both for retirees – with a record number of nursing homes – and for tourists – with 120 chartered flights per day at the airport. Christian Estrosi picks up his phone and pushes forward with Olivier Véran. Bingo. The 4,875 vaccines arrive forty-eight hours later, on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday. “Very proud”, Christian Estrosi debriefs in the dining room of the nursing home at the CHU, with a mosaic mural and bouquets of plastic flowers. “It is an extremely symbolic moment because it is the beginning of a great hope, says Mayor LR. It’s in Nice that it happens and it was not easy ”.

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We had to get up early. Rémy Collomp, head of the pharmacy and sterilization division, arrived at the Nice University Hospital at 3 a.m., he received the doses at 5 a.m. Night delivery for security reasons. “I had never taken such a short time to come to the hospital”, will entrust a safety officer. Around the doses, no police but a CHU security “Redesigned”. Before reaching their destination, the 4,875 vaccines made the journey in an insulated box the size of a bedside table, with dry ice and integrated thermometer probe. “We were delivered by taxi. It’s a service provider who came from Paris, traces Rémy Collomp. In emergency situations, the road is the quickest solution. With the plane, you have to count the time to go to the airport, to go through security and customs. It is sometimes longer. ” The Nice University Hospital is already used to receiving transplants or clinical trials from elsewhere in France or Spain by car. It is because Nice is located in the extreme south-east of France, at the end of the chain: the Covid vaccines have just traveled 930 kilometers in the trunk of a taxi.

“I’m always up for everything”

In this corridor of the CHU, it is difficult to distinguish the walls. On either side are cabinets and refrigerators where tablets, vials and medical equipment accumulate. At the end of this shelving, in a cul-de-sac lit only by neon lights: the super freezer. Received on December 23, it displays -71 ° C on its flat screen. Behind its two insulating doors, five racks of 195 Pfizer bottles. Each vial will vaccinate five people. And the operation will have to be renewed 21 days later. Rémy Collomp has obtained the assurance of receiving the same restocking within these deadlines. A logistical challenge which is part of the pharmacist’s function. “Today, it’s symbolic. But the real big interest is having the vaccines, he believes. After storage, the necessary vials are thawed in the fridge. Then we have five days to vaccinate. When delivered, the vaccines remain stable for only six hours. “ The vials are not the only ones to be managed from the Nice University Hospital. Beside the freezer, Alicia, preparer, has just put down several boxes of needles and syringes. Remy Collomp: “We prepare everything that goes with it, the bottle, the label and the equipment. The nurse will only have to perform the act. “

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As for the sting of Pierre Gilardi. After the injection, the 82-year-old man came to tell his story in the CHU dining room. “I’m always up for everything, he says. I never say no. So there, I did not hesitate. “ Especially since the virus has already wreaked havoc in the life of Pierre Gilardi. His best friend died of Covid during the first confinement. It is therefore impossible to refuse the vaccine. “He will have spent the quarter of an hour of standing observation answering questions. Everything is fine”, reassures the geriatrician of the department on the lookout for side effects. After this first resident, four more received a dose on Wednesday. Bottles will leave for Antibes from January 4, for Cannes on the 11th. The freezer can store 100,000 doses but it will never be full: delivery will be done almost immediately to health centers. Pierre Gilardi finishes his post-vaccination debrief: “I am very honored.” And applause.


Mathilde Frénois, correspondent in Nice

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