Covid-19: a huge center at the Vélodrome or how France ultimately opts for Vaccinodrome

The basics While the vaccination strategy presented at the beginning of December decided to abandon the “Vaccinodrome” strategy (used during the 2009 H1N1 influenza epidemic), several XXL vaccination centers are currently being opened in France in order to meet the goals set by the government to reach .

This Saturday, February 6th, Provence announced the imminent transformation of the legendary Stade Vélodrome in Marseille into a large vaccination center. Several other vaccinodromes were opened at the same time, notably in Pas-de-Calais, a unit currently in detention on weekends with an incidence rate of more than 400 cases per 100,000 population. These announcements mark a new phase in the vaccination campaign that was not originally planned …

It was during the H1N1 influenza epidemic in 2009: pictures of gyms being converted into vaccination centers but desperately empty showed the failure of the vaccination campaign then led by Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot. Only 8.5% of the population had been vaccinated while the government hoped to hit the 75% mark.

Eleven years later, the specter of this failure still hovered, and in its vaccination strategy against the Covid-19 epidemic, unveiled on December 3, 2020, the government said it was foregoing “vaccinodrome”. The spokesman for the National Union of Nurses (SNPI) Thierry Amouroux was delighted with this decision in our columns: “One caregiver who verifies the identity, another who prepares the vaccines in the chain, one does the injections and one others who manage traceability. This process is a professional misconduct in the hospital. A nurse needs to be able to identify the patient she is vaccinating, “he claimed.

Vaccination goals corrected downwards

Three months later, events took a different turn. In vaccination among liberal doctors, which the government relied on, there was a relative delay in ignition, which pharmacies don’t do until March 15, and delays in vaccine delivery somewhat affected the first stage of vaccination. The targets set by the executive have been challenged: the original target of 15 million to be vaccinated by the spring and the rest of the population by the summer has been revised downwards. From now on, the government expects 30 million people to have received their first vaccine dose “by summer”.

In fact, by Friday March 5, 3,581,812 French people had received at least one dose of vaccine for the coronavirus. The Ministry of Health responded to the need to speed up vaccination. Mass vaccinations were launched this weekend in several regions where the virus is most actively circulating and is initially aimed at people over the age of 75. Operations that Olivier Véran was pleased about this Saturday, highlighting the number of people vaccinated that day: 220,000.

To this end, the funds were used: in Île-de-France (more than 100) many vaccination centers were opened to sell more than 50,000 doses, as well as in Pas-de-Calais, where more than 10,000 doses have to be administered. The largest of these centers had the goal of vaccinating 2,000 people over these two days. The Mayor of Lens, Sylvain Robert, assured this Saturday that “the population is there, things are going well”.

Massive development due to vaccine production

These devices, which were originally only planned for this weekend, will they be sustainable and will they continue to evolve? In any case, this is what Olivier Gacquerre, the mayor of Béthune, where one of these vaccinodromes was set up, wants. When asked by France Bleu Nord, he underlined the need to “massify” such measures.

Therefore, in the coming days and weeks, both on weekends and on weekdays, new XXL vaccination centers could be set up all over France, such as in Marseille in the Stade Vélodrome. The reluctance at the beginning of the campaign therefore seems to have been removed by the need to accelerate the campaign. To do this, however, it is still necessary that the logistical means, particularly associated with the manufacture of vaccines, follow suit.

While pharmaceutical subcontractors such as Recipharm or Delpharm are expected to start producing Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech vaccines in March and April in France, the government expects a total of 32 million doses to be dispensed by the end of April, which would enable the development of vaccinodromes. For that, the French still have to agree to go there: According to a study published on Monday March 1st by the Kekst CNC cabinet, almost 40% of them were still reluctant to get vaccinated.