By: V4 Agency
Although the country’s average vaccination rate is below the EU’s rate, in one department near the capital boasting a large immigrant community, the situation is even worse. Authorities are trying to catch up through different initiatives and the creation of new vaccination points, but the department’s low uptake of vaccination is not solely attributable to the coronavirus.
France’s national vaccination coverage also falls below the EU’s rate. Statistics published by of Ourworldindata on 1 June show that the EU average is 38.75%, while France’s rate, where 38.18% of the population has already been vaccinated at least once, is slightly lower.
The situation is even worse in Seine-Saint-Denis department near Paris, an area boasting a populous immigrant community. The low vaccination rate is common to all age groups. but while over 38% of people have already received their first jab at a national level, this rate is only 23% in Seine-Saint-Denis, according to the 20 minutes news portal.
Data released by the national Insitute of Statistics (INSEE) based on census figures collected between 1968 and 2016 – and published in 2016 – reveal that 30% of Seine-Saint-Denis’s population has an immigrant background, which makes the notorious department top the national list when it comes to the ratio of total population vs. migrants.
Regarding the avergae age of the population, Seine-Saint-Denis is the youngest department, but the low vaccination rate prevails in all age groups. The proportion of people inoculated over 75 is 8% below the national average: while 79% of people in this age group have been vaccinated across France in average, their proportion is only 71.2% in Seine-Saint-Denis. This rate is even worse in the 65 to 74 age bracket. In their case, the national average is 76%, while only 64.2% of Seine-Saint-Denis residents have received a jab.
Stephane Troussel, Seine-Saint-Denis’ general council president told the press that the rate of flu vaccination is also much lower than the national average in the department, with 10 to 15% fewer people receiving that vaccine each year than in other parts of the country.
The residents’ willingness to receive the jab is not the only problem, a member of staff from the Regional Health Center (ARS) says. The area has been struggling with labour shortages for years. The number of GPs and specialists in the department is 30% lower than the national average.
ARS and the mayors of 40 towns in the department are looking for a solution. In a video conference, they agreed on opening new vaccination centres exclusively for local residents, and extending the opening hours to ensure that everyone willing to be inoculated could receive the jab. Additional doses will also be sent to the area to increase the general vaccination rate. In June, healt authorities are planning to administer 120 thousand doses per week to local residents.
Stephane Troussel said local vaccination points are essential but insufficient, so mobile vaccination teams will also be set up to pay personal visits to towns, because many homes have no internet connection, or a working phone.