Variole du singe : la vaccination patine “par manque de bras, non par manque de doses”

Variole du singe : la vaccination patine "par manque de bras, non par manque de doses"

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Despite the opening of 153 monkeypox vaccination centers in France, the campaign is failing and appointments remain hard to come by. The Ministry of Health has decided to launch this Wednesday the vaccination experiment in five pharmacies.

The government wants to speed up the pace. If 153 vaccination centers have already been opened in France and 20,322 people have been vaccinated against monkeypox, getting an appointment quickly is becoming more and more complicated. With 2,423 cases registered in France as of August 4, associations and elected officials have criticized the government and called for the pace of vaccination to be accelerated. Therefore, the Ministry of Health announced on Monday, August 8, the experiment in pharmacies.

In five pharmacies, located in Île-de-France, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Hauts-de-France, pharmacists will be able to administer the vaccine from Wednesday, August 10, and for two weeks.

This experiment will test the “organizational models between the pharmacies and the hospitals that receive the doses,” the authorities explained. It will allow assessing the relevance of extending or not the vaccination campaign to other pharmacies.

For Gilles Pialoux, head of the department of infectious and tropical diseases at the Tenon hospital (Paris), “quick solutions are needed, and one of them is to go to pharmacies.” Because “the account is not there in terms of vaccination: at the current rate, it will take six months to vaccinate the entire target audience. And we can’t wait for December,” he assures.

“We have known since Covid-19 that pharmacists know how to manage doses”

Currently, the target audience includes only men who have sex with men, people with multiple sexual partners, trans people, sex workers, professionals who work in places of sexual consumption and personal caregivers.

For the Ministry of Health, this experiment will allow “to evaluate if there is no dose loss.” The smallpox vaccine presents several difficulties: it must imperatively be kept at a very low temperature (-80°C) and “it can only be kept for fifteen days” once thawed, explains the ministry. The vaccines, being packaged in boxes of twenty doses, must therefore find takers quickly.

An argument that Gilles Pialoux, also president of the French Society for the Fight against AIDS, refutes: “It is a pity that at the moment we only maintain vaccination in pharmacies in the experimental phase. We already know from Covid-19 that pharmacists know very well how to vaccinate and manage doses”.

>> To also read: Paris opens its first vaccination center to “contain” the monkeypox epidemic

“There is no lack of dose, but lack of weapons”

According to Gilles Pialoux, the current slow pace of vaccination is not due to “lack of doses, but to lack of weapons” in France.

The weight of this new epidemic could “weigh on the public hospital, when we can no longer”, explains the doctor. “In the Tenon hospital, for example, we cannot receive more than ten people suffering from or suspected of having monkeypox. The procedure is long. It is not like with Covid-19, where there is enough cotton in the nose to try: there is attention, prevention, STI tests, you have to look for contacts and above all the different injuries, which can be very difficult to detect.

>> Read also: Monkeypox revives fears of stigmatization of the gay community

A “combined prevention” against a “complex disease”

Specialists also call not to rely solely on vaccination. “We must apply combined prevention”, recommends Gilles Pialoux. “And also call for risk reduction, particularly in sexual relations, to improve screening and all the protocol that we had established with Covid-19 but that was released.”

The diagnosis must also be improved, according to the doctor, especially because it is “a very complex disease, with very different manifestations: in the field we discovered that it could present as angina, or lesions in the nose, or even in the ears: all areas that are not the target of sexual intercourse. Worse yet, there is French data showing that one infected person in ten has only one lesion on the body, “instead of a multitude of skin marks as “presents in medical textbooks. .

“The future of this epidemic depends on several questions: will the virus spread outside the current target? Will we be able to diversify the screening offer? And, above all, there is a great job of communication to be done, especially with the public”.

>> Read also: Symptoms, diagnosis, treatments… everything you need to know about monkeypox

with AFP

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