Paris, Thursday 25 August 2022 – France has passed the milestone of 50,000 people vaccinated against monkeypox and vaccination in pharmacies could soon be widespread.
After a difficult start, vaccination against monkeypox in France is slowly but surely accelerating. Visiting a vaccination center in Montpellier on Tuesday, Health Minister François Braun pointed out that France had just passed the milestone of 50,000 vaccinated. “This makes France one of the countries in the world where we vaccinate the most with the United States”.
It is true that France performs significantly better than its European neighbors, even if the differences in numbers can be explained in particular by the more or less broad demarcations of the target population: 33,000 vaccinated in the United Kingdom, but only 1,200 in Spain, 900 in Belgium and none in Switzerland, where the campaign has not started yet.
12,000 vaccinations per week, not enough for clubs
The acceleration of the vaccination campaign is due in particular to the gradual opening of vaccination pharmacies, which has allowed many people who could not find a niche in the centers to be vaccinated.
Only five pharmacies in France are currently authorized to administer the monkeypox vaccine, but the health minister has indicated other pharmacies in Montpellier, the north and Rhône-Alpes could soon be authorized to vaccinate, before a possible generalization in pharmacies in early September.
Currently, 12,000 injections are performed weekly. At that rate, the entire target population, estimated by the High Authority for Health (HAS) at 250,000 people (gay men and trans people with multiple partners and sex workers), will not have received their first dose for another five months.
Insufficient for homosexual unions, which recently estimated that a rate of 37,000 weekly vaccinations would be needed to protect the entire target population before the end of summer.
dr Lacombe vs. Dr. Brown
Some doctors echo these criticisms, believing that the government has failed to respond to this epidemic. “We had to wait until July 7, that is, a delay of more than six weeks between the arrival of the virus in France and the green light, to start the vaccination campaign.” protests Dr. Karine Lacombe, Head of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Saint-Antoine Hospital in Paris.
“The time wasted by regulations and administrative slowness allowed the spread of the epidemic”
She adds. But for the Minister of Health there was none
“ignition delay”. “I arrived on July 4th and from the 10th we started vaccination”
When she realizes the doses of the vaccine aren’t missing, Dr. Lacombe is concerned about the lack of nurses available to administer the doses and regrets that vaccination is not yet widely available in pharmacies. “As if we had to confirm that pharmacists can vaccinate against smallpox when they’ve been offering it against Covid-19 for months.” the infectiologist protests.
At the epidemiological level, the epidemic seems to be slowing down in Europe, where only 2,000 new cases are observed every week in Europe compared to 2,500 in August, but not in the United States, where cumulatively more than 16,600 cases have been registered, ie 36% of the contamination worldwide .
The disease has become a major concern for the homosexual community, which concentrates almost all cases. For example, according to a recent survey, 48% of American gay men have reduced the number of sexual partners they have because of the epidemic, and 49% have reduced their use of dating apps or the frequency of gay hangouts.
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