Rome, December 10 – Pharmacists “Who will want” will be open from now on every Sunday in December and January with the aim of vaccinating as many people as possible against Covid-19: the French Minister of Health announced yesterday morning, Olivier Veran (picture right).
“France is one of the countries in the world that is most vaccinated with the booster dose, 650,000 French were vaccinated yesterday” the minister told France 2. But, he added, “We have to go faster, stronger, it is urgent. “We are multiplying the number of centers where you can be vaccinated: freelance doctors, pharmacists, collaborating doctors, therapists, midwives, nurses, will receive over 4 million doses of mRna vaccines this week.”
France, according to Ansa, set a new record for daily infections yesterday, 72,000 in 24 hours. A really disturbing figure, “It has never been recorded since the beginning of the pandemic”, said Veran.
Vèran’s “call to arms” for doctors, pharmacists and other operators, however, conflicts with an unfavorable reality, at least for the 21,000 pharmacies in the Alps. Which have been around for a long time for sure under pressure: last week they performed about three million antigen tests and, on average, they have to deal with a hundred phone calls every day. And they will hardly be able to do more than they do, due to lack of staff and available installments.
Western France, quotes the testimonies and assessments of the President of the Federation of French Pharmaceutical Associations (Fspf) Philippe Besset (photo left), which highlights the workload already weighing on pharmacies between the “usual” vaccination campaign, third doses and tampons. “Half of the campaign is carried out in vaccination centers and the other half in private health workers. It is the pharmacists who make up two thirds, the rest are the doctors and the nurses “. says Besset.
Then there are the extreme situations, as in Wren, for example, where “Vaccination centers took a long time to reopen, so people were looking for slots at all costs: we are completely shocked.”, is his testimony Damien Puissant, a member of the Uspo association, which maintains a pharmacy near the city center. In short, the pharmacy staff is overworked and very tested, after almost two years of the pandemic, which have obviously created health problems and infections even in the pharmacists themselves. “We are already well loaded, I also have to think about maintaining my family and my health” repeats Puissant.
For this reason, the green light given by Minister Véran to open pharmacies even on Sundays only for vaccinations, apparently on a voluntary basis, risks not receiving the desired answer: it is difficult to increase the tariff given to pharmacists for vaccination (insurance 5 euros more per injection) will be enough to motivate them, in a situation where the reasons are increasingly difficult to find, as evidenced by the fact that none of the pharmacists asked by West-France said he was available to accept the minister’s invitation.
However, it is difficult to do this when pharmacies are already open six days a week, from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm and even later. And then there is a shortage of staff: the Fspf estimates that 10,000 people are already missing to support the “excess” of 120,000 pharmacists, paramedics and pharmacy assistants. “And this even if since last November, properly trained 4th and 5th year pharmacy students have the opportunity to get vaccinated, under the supervision of a community pharmacist “. says Besset. Students who, in turn, observe Philippe Ferron, co-president of the Ille-et-Vilaine Pharmacists Association, owner of a pharmacy in Plerguer, “They will never get to a country like mine: it is too far for them and they are also busy with their studies”.
The Fspf predicts that less than a quarter of its members will open their vaccination sites on Sunday, as requested by the minister. In any case, Besset recalls, anyone wishing to take part in Vèran’s call should obviously inform the public on the appropriate website. santé.fr.