On board the vaccine bus in rural France


If you cannot come to the vaccine, then the vaccine will come to you. That is the idea behind the 'Vacci'bus' which is visiting parts of rural France at the moment to vaccinate older people in isolated villages against Covid-19. Mediapart went on board a bus servicing the area around Reims where the idea first began, and met some of the residents of these remote communities north-east of Paris. The elderly inhabitants were delighted to be on the bus and receiving their vaccination. But they also revealed what they have been enduring in their village homes during the long months of the epidemic. “We're alone, afraid and we don't see anyone,” one woman said. Cécile Andrzejewski reports.

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A step has been thoughtfully placed in front of the bus door. It is a gesture designed to help passengers climb up into the bus that is parked next to the mayor's office at Billy-le-Grand, a small village of just 120 inhabitants south-east of Reims in northern France. The bus will remain here for two hours, the time it takes for eight local residents to receive their vaccinations against Covid-19. For the timetable and route of this particular bus, known as Vacci'bus, is a little out of the ordinary.