In Ile-de-France, epicenter of monkeypox, vaccination begins to ramp up

published on Friday, July 29, 2022 at 6:24 p.m.

In Ile-de-France, epicenter of the monkeypox epidemic, the vaccination campaign is starting to gain momentum, despite the lack of personnel, with the will displayed by the authorities not to forget the people furthest away of the care system.

According to the latest report from Public Health France, published on Friday, 1,955 confirmed cases have been identified in France. These patients resided most frequently in Ile-de-France (814).

In the region, 60 to 70 new cases are declared every day, according to the Regional Health Agency (ARS). They present the same characteristics as at the national level: almost all of them are men who have had sexual relations with other men, with one or more partners.

Faced with the outbreak and against a backdrop of criticism from associations and elected officials on the left, the health authorities ensure that vaccination is gaining momentum. Since July 8, “25 places have opened in the region, including 18 centers in Paris,” Amélie Verdier, director general of the ARS, told AFP.

On Friday, more than 8,000 injections had been carried out in Ile-de-France, or 70% of the vaccinations carried out in France, including 5,000 in the week of July 25 alone, said the ARS.

If she assures that there is “no problem of doses”, Amélie Verdier evokes logistical difficulties which could have delayed the deployment of the campaign. From now on, it is the arms that are especially lacking. “Health professionals have been very tested by the Covid crisis”, highlights the director of the ARS.

In the heart of Paris, in the community sexual health center dedicated to LGBTI + communities “Checkpoint”, of the SOS group, it is said that “it is not possible to meet all the demand due to lack of staff”.

“We were able to bring in temporary doctors but it is more difficult to recruit nurses”, explains Sébastien Denglos, head of service.

– “Multiple offer” –

Kevin Huy, general practitioner in Aulnay-sous-Bois (Seine-Saint-Denis), came to lend a hand to the team in place. “I was already vaccinating for Covid in the 20th in Paris, I saw in a WhatsApp group that there were manpower needs for monkeypox,” he explains.

The Minister of Health, François Braun, announced Monday evening to mobilize “additional arms” to vaccinate, in particular health students.

According to ARS Ile-de-France, a new instruction could also improve the situation: the High Authority for Health (HAS) should indicate at the beginning of next week that the second dose, hitherto recommended 28 days after the first, may be done “well beyond this time limit”.

Another challenge: to reach the target audiences, without forgetting people far from vaccination.

“We try to have a multiple offer, with for example a center dedicated to monkey pox, which opened in the 13th, and more community centers, like Checkpoint”, which offers a global approach to sexual health, explains Amélie Greenfinch.

In front of its window, the center has posted information panels on the disease in different languages. And reserves vaccination slots without an appointment to reach “those who do not necessarily have access to the internet”.

“In most open centers, access is via Doctolib and this is a problem because not everyone has access to it: this creates social inequalities in health,” said Hannan Mouhin, director of Checkpoint.

Arnaud, 22, moved Thursday from Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis) to make an appointment for the next day in the center. “I didn’t want to stay isolated at home and ruin the little vacation I have,” he explains. Thanks to the vaccination, “I hope to be able to spend a fairly quiet summer”.

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