In Charente, first shots in senior residences: Now I am armed against the Covid!

In a room of a senior services residence in Charente, Josette Vignaud, 80, receives the first dose of the long-awaited vaccine: “Now I am armed against the Covid!”. If the bites began a long time ago in nursing homes, they begin in structures for independent elderly people.

Mobile vaccination teams made up of doctors and nurses began to crisscross the department last week to vaccinate in these accommodation structures for independent seniors, which are not medicalized unlike nursing homes.

Residents are not necessarily younger there: The average age is 85.5 years at La Canopée, a residence of the Domitys network on Isle d’Espagnac, in the suburbs of Angoulême. They live their life, between their private equipped apartment and the common areas (petanque court, swimming pool, relaxation area, gym …)

Josette Vignaud, who has just been vaccinated, “is one of our triggers at pétanque”, underlines the director of the establishment François Boussiron.

In another room fitted out as an “observation room” where each vaccinated person spends at least a quarter of an hour, the octogenarian explains: “Everyone should do it, it is the only thing that can save us”.

According to the director, 85% of the approximately 60 residents of this brand new establishment, inaugurated in June and “zero cases of Covid” to date, have registered to be vaccinated by the mobile team. “I do not know anyone who did not want to be vaccinated” in the residence, remarks Ms. Vignaud. “If it did, I would tell him to do it.”

An elderly person receives a dose of vaccine against Covid-19 in a senior assisted living facility on February 16, 2021 in L’Isle-d’Espagnac, Charente (AFP – Philippe LOPEZ)

“We feel that people were eager to receive the vaccine”, slips Céline Gautheron, a nursery nurse who wanted to be useful during the health crisis and put herself at the service of the ARS. “They say to themselves: + Pff we are going to be a little liberated +”.

– “Zero wasted dose” –

“There are people passing by, staff, and asking: isn’t there a dose left for us?” She said. “The doses are packaged in six so if there is one or two left after the resident volunteers, we can vaccinate a staff member. The goal is zero wasted doses.”

When the next resident arrives for her appointment with the syringe loaded with Pfizer / BioNTech, the director gently scolds her: “+ Readjust your mask in front of the doctor or you will get a yellow card”.

Vaccination against Covid-19 in a senior services residence, February 16, 2021 in L'Isle-d'Espagnac, Charente (AFP - Philippe LOPEZ)

Vaccination against Covid-19 in a senior services residence, February 16, 2021 in L’Isle-d’Espagnac, Charente (AFP – Philippe LOPEZ)

“An autograph for your consent,” the doctor asks before letting the nurse give the injection. He warns her about the possibility of having “high temperature, headaches or aches” within 48 hours. “But take only Paracetamol”.

The practitioner, Jean-Marie Ducluzeau, is a recently retired general practitioner. He too wanted to be useful “You know what they say: + Doctor one day, doctor always +”. But the pace of the vaccination campaign in France leaves him “a little skeptical”. “We need more doses. We are lagging behind Great Britain or Israel,” he remarks.

Not to mention that with the variants of the virus, “won’t we need a third dose?”

In the meantime, each vaccinated at La Canopée leaves with a summons for their second dose, scheduled in three weeks. But not everyone understands the process yet. “And why do I have to come back?” asks a lady.

Just vaccinated, Olivette Laurent, 88, is “happy”: “I have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who come to see me. It had to be done.” Confident in the effectiveness of vaccines – “scientists know what they’re doing” – she thinks they will make the variants “less nasty”.

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