Covid19

Anti-Covid-19 vaccine: how non-priority people are still vaccinated

Registration for vaccination on online platforms such as Doctolib allows people not eligible for the anti-Covid vaccine to still have access to it.

HEALTH – Health professionals under 50 in good health, young people, police officers, members of the administrative staff, politicians … Since the start of the vaccination campaign launched on December 27 with a very precise timetable , some French people who do not have priority had access to the Covid-19 vaccine when they were not entitled to it.

Privileges that go wrong, at a time of supply tensions of doses. If this Monday, February 15, more than 2 million people received the first dose of the anti-Covid vaccine, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health , many over 75 are still struggling to make an appointment, for lack of availability on registration platforms .

However, by the end of February, when vaccination could be extended to people aged 65 to 74, the goal is to vaccinate 4 million priority people, Alain Fischer, the “Mr. Vaccine” recalled on Monday. of the government. How, despite a well-crafted government strategy, did an ineligible public gain access to vaccination? As a reminder, when the campaign was launched, only elderly people residing in nursing homes were given priority, but since January 18, French people over 75 years of age outside nursing homes and people with high-risk pathologies can also be vaccinated.

Young people on online platforms 

The first factor is logistics. Appointments can be made online, via three private providers, Doctolib, Maiia or Keldoc, accessible from the government website Sante.fr. The aim is to streamline and speed up the campaign, by making appointment scheduling easier. But this internet registration system does not block access to vaccination for ineligible people. In practice, it is difficult at the time of registration to ensure that the people registering really belong to the priority audience. How do you know, for example, that a man under 75 has a high-risk pathology?

“There is no way to control it on online registration platforms, storm Luc Dusquenel, general practitioner and president of the Confederation of French medical unions (CSMF), with the HuffPost , because that would pose the problem of Confidential medical information. Everything is declarative. ” Statements confirmed in part by the Directorate General of Health (DGS) contacted by The  HuffPost . “When the person makes an appointment, there is a pledge on honor, but proof that it corresponds to the eligible public is requested on site only”, she pointed out.

A situation which is partly explained by a much higher rate of adherence to vaccination among the population than expected , explains Luc Dusquenel. In nursing homes, he reached 80%, while all French people were 56% to intend to be vaccinated in mid-January according to a survey, or 14 points more than on December 23 latest. “Some French people cheat, and make an appointment in place of their elders,” continues the doctor, even if this remains in the minority, of the order of 0.5% of registrations according to him.

Beyond those who cheat, some misunderstand the eligibility criteria since the priority audience has been extended to people with “high risk” pathologies. “Many think they fall into the category of people with high-risk pathologies when this is not the case, like diabetics, the most frequent example”, explains to HuffPost Anne-Laure Bonis, general practitioner and president of the MG France union.

Aggression of some patients

Once the registration is complete, it is difficult for the doctors to dismiss the patient. Anne-Laure Bonis points to their “aggressiveness”: “We don’t have time to do pedagogy once they are in front of us, the peeling should be done before. However, online platforms are not a suitable tool to do this. ”

This is also what Luc Dusquenel emphasizes, who remembers a woman in her fifties without a risky pathology who had “threatened to commit suicide” when she had been refused access to vaccination. “She threatened to file a complaint and explained that if she died, it would be the hospital’s fault,” he regrets.

At the end of the day, when the urgency is to run out of the prepared doses, refusal becomes almost impossible. Once the bottles are taken out of the fridge and prepared, they should be used within 6 hours. “At the end of the day, if we say no to a patient who has made an appointment, we risk having to throw out the vaccine a few hours later since it is unusable the next day,” continues Anne-Laure Bonis. And the health professional to call for calm: “Taking your grandmother’s place is counterproductive. I understand the concerns of the French, but rushing is absolutely useless ”.

“Skip the lines” for the privileged?

Another case is also pointed out: Parisian hospitals are accused of having given non-priority people the benefit of “queue-cutting” to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. And this, despite government instructions.According to a Franceinfo survey published on February 9 on the American Hospital of Neuilly, some elected officials and notables could have benefited at the beginning of January from the first doses of the vaccine against Covid-19 while some eligible hospital caregivers are still awaiting their first injection.

Specifically, about twenty members of the “Board of Governors” (Anglo-Saxon equivalent of a board of directors), namely international personalities and business leaders, have received two doses of vaccines. The American hospital, contacted by public radio, said for its part to have vaccinated “all volunteers and eligible working in the hospital”, “according to the criteria of the Ministry of Health and in accordance with the directives of the health authorities”.

Another example: on January 28, the CGT accused in a press release the Hôtel-Dieu of having granted privileges to the “privileged”. “Mr. Martin Hirsch, Director General of the AP-HP and Mr. Frédéric Batteux responsible for the vaccination center of the Hôtel-Dieu have decided to vaccinate the staff of the City of Paris and other privileged people outside of all the recommendations of the High Authority for Health, the Ministry and any medical risk criteria !. ” Accusations denied the next day by the City of Paris.

Allegations which made several politicians react, in particular Geoffroy Boulard, mayor of the 17th arrondissement of Paris. “The facts reported by the CGT are very serious”, the elected representative had tweeted. Especially since before the alert from the CGT, several doctors had already drawn the attention of the mayor to these so-called “privileges”: “We received several emails from doctors deploring that administrative secretaries, members of the prefecture of police and all nursing staff benefited from queue-jumpers, ” the town hall of the 17th arrondissement of Paris told HuffPost .

For the general practitioner and president of the CMSF Luc Dusquenel, these facts are not isolated. “Several hospitals in France do not respect the highway code, in a proactive manner and for example register all health professionals in their establishment on vaccination platforms so that they have priority access to the vaccine”, deplores- he does not however wish to cite specific establishments. A health professional from the CHU de Reims who wished to remain anonymous confirmed these remarks with HuffPost : “I know that several hospitals in France voluntarily vaccinate people who do not correspond to the government strategy, which poses a real ethical problem. ” 

According to the timetable set by the government, the other segments of the population not targeted today, but likely to be infected, should have access to the doses in the spring of 2021. As for people aged 65 to 74, they can probably receive an injection in early March. 

Jimmy Curd

Jimmy Curd is a features editor at iPress USA, where He oversees The Broadsheet newsletter and edits the publication’s long-form storytelling, as well as its coverage of gender and business.

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