While Switzerland is slow to authorize the first vaccines against monkeypox, many people are looking to get vaccinated abroad. But in France, vaccination centers near Geneva refuse to vaccinate the Swiss, RTS has learned.
Not far from Geneva, in Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, Grenoble or Annecy, the monkeypox vaccination centers are overwhelmed with calls from Switzerland. But the answer is always the same: they only vaccinate their own residents, in order to save doses.
However, in the north of France, Belgians can cross the border to receive an injection in Lille. They even sometimes represent up to 90% of daily vaccinations. According to the prevention-health service of the metropolis of Lille, it is simply a question of solidarity with European neighbors.
“As a first step, a recommendation was given to prioritize the public living on the national territory, without excluding the rest of the applicants”, details the vaccination center in a response to the RTS. Subsequently, the French Ministry of Health indicated that due to “solidarity with our European neighbours, the centers are invited not to prioritize target audiences by their place of residence”.
But around Geneva, no such instructions were transmitted. On the contrary, healthcare institutions are instructed to ask for the vital card to have proof of residence. Vaccination centers point out that the doses are already insufficient for local demand. The center of Saint-Julien, for example, has only about fifteen per week.
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Inequality of access to care
For Loïc Michaud, nurse in charge of the Checkpoint of the Dialogai association in Geneva, these local restrictions are understandable, but they create inequalities. “There are vaccination centers which do not, until now, ask for an identity. But these are much more distant centers, like in Paris, or in other European countries. And this creates an inequality of access to care”, he laments.
LGBT associations therefore call for a cross-border partnership. When questioned, the State of Geneva explains that it is in discussion with its French equivalents to find a collaborative solution, as it did for vaccination against Covid. It will all depend on when the township gets doses.
Geneva recently expressed its desire to acquire doses as soon as possible, even without the approval of the Confederation. At the beginning of August, Swissmedic indicated that it had not yet received a request for authorization of the product.
>> Read about it: Bern considers centralized purchase of monkeypox vaccines