French town uses mobile doctor to get vaccine to vulnerable people
Ross Cullen in Le Raincy
The COVID-19 vaccination drive is under way in France as the government tries to hit its target of 30 million first doses by mid-June and in the eastern Paris suburbs, the local authority has improvised a way of ensuring it gets jabs to everyone who wants them – a mobile doctor.
Through the initiative set up by the mayor's office, the nurse or doctor on duty heads out every day to take the vaccine to people who cannot easily get to a pharmacy or a vaccination center to receive a coronavirus shot.
"As soon as vaccines were available, I registered with many hospitals around here," says Hugues Delahousse, a doctor in Le Raincy. "I've been retired for six months but going back to work to vaccinate people is very nice – we feel like we are finally fighting back against the virus."
Mrs Decker is 101 and she is exactly the type of resident who relies on the mobile vaccination service. "Firstly, I want to protect myself from the virus and also to protect my grandchildren who live here with me," she tells CGTN Europe.
Having a home visit from a family doctor can also reassure residents who are nervous about getting vaccinated at a big center that is hard for them to reach. The mayor says the option of the mobile doctor is something not many other towns have adopted so far in France.
"I think more than being a question of political will, it's a question of the resources," says Jean-Michel Genestier, the mayor of Le Raincy. "It is a true logistical difficulty. When you have 300 people to vaccinate at home – people who are elderly, who might not understand what we say, who forget appointments – all of this requires lot of people on the phone here and measures to put in place to safeguard these particular residents."
With initiatives like the mobile doctor, the coronavirus vaccination campaign is changing gears as the summer approaches and social restrictions continue to ease. From June 9, cafes and restaurants will be able to open their indoor dining areas.
The national curfew will be relaxed to start at 11 p.m. local time and non-essential travel from certain countries will be allowed, provided visitors show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative PCR test.