REPORT – Behind the scenes of the largest sports venue in the country, young people are busy planning vaccination appointments by phone.
“Hello, Stade de France vaccination center.” In the reception rooms, in the celebrity floor, there are about fifty motivated young people. Installed in groups of four in boxes, helmets screwed to their ears, they respond to multiple calls from those who wish to be vaccinated – mostly residents of Saint-Ouen. On site, priority is given to barrier gestures: plexiglass windows separate the different stations, mask boxes and hydroalcoholic gel are available to everyone.
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Exchange at the center of their activity
No question of seeing the lawn, no offense to football fans. The students remain confined to the first floor of the stadium. The voices intermingle in a joyful hubbub. A renewed proximity, which enchants Destinée, 27, with a double degree in economics-management and foreign languages. In the absence of phone calls, she laughs with Sarah and Zoe, her box neighbors. “In the morning, I enjoy joining this sacred team to work in a good atmosphere”, she comments. And to entrust: “I adore my family but I began to saturate confinement with them, so this job is a good outcome”.
Brigitte Abel, their manager, watches them. Available to assist them as needed, she observes them evolve throughout the day and says: “Friendliness reigns, they renew ties, so it’s fun, it’s fun”. “They even exchange on a WhatsApp group” she reports. Establishing a link, a contact, that is the essence of their task. Noémy, 19, in management license is enthusiastic: “I particularly appreciate the contact with those who ask us, I even discover that I am comfortable on the phone.”
A few meters further on, Nicolas, 19, in PaRéo university degree, a year of transition between high school and faculty, relishes the experience: “The elderly are very pleasant, never stingy with politeness and I see the help I provide them.” Pleasant moments, sometimes spoiled by the nervousness of those whose expectations are not met. “They take offense, decree that it is unacceptable and then, to calm the storm, I side with them, I show myself to be empathetic”, relates the young man.
A public utility mission
In the neighboring box, Rayan, 18, in reorientation after a first year of medicine, breathes. He takes his helmet off after a long burst of calls, relieved. “I applied here, looking for an activity to fill my days and thanks to that, I feel useful to the nation by acting at the heart of the news”, he testifies.
As a coordinator, he receives slightly fewer calls than his comrades, but in his turn he goes to contact people who have missed their appointment or those who are on the waiting list. The latter, not eligible, tried their luck by trying to register. In case of vaccine doses remaining at the end of the afternoon, they can benefit from it. Rayan estimates that he manages between 60 and 70 calls a day.
Rayan, like the 53 other students, participates for three months in the “Great battle” wanted by the President of the Republic. During his speech on Wednesday March 31, Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed the urgency “To accelerate again and again” the vaccination campaign. To fulfill this mission, one of the largest vaccinodromes in France has emerged within the walls of the historic stadium. Inaugurated on April 6, it simultaneously accommodates apprentice switchboard operators in the first and basement, nearly 2,000 future vaccinated per day. Half of the doses are reserved for the inhabitants of Seine-Saint-Denis, a department particularly affected by the pandemic.
A way to fight against student insecurity
From her desk, which offers her an overview of the play, Brigitte Abel talks about the government’s desire to mobilize young people: “They are too often the big ones forgotten by this crisis, while they are hit hard by precariousness” she emphasizes. This job, in addition to the altruistic perspective, guarantees them a comfortable salary: a little over 1,500 euros net monthly. Destinée readily admits that this is what decided her, a “More attractive remuneration than the others”.
Two floors below, the swarming. Serge and Maryse, respectively 67 and 63 years old, are waiting for their Moderna vaccine certificate after the injection. They registered on Sunday, following a message from the town hall which redirected them to the listening platform. At the end of the line, they recognized a youthful voice but above all well informed, “Especially vigilant on medical questions”. “A fluid discussion”, outbid the couple. Their story is punctuated by announcements to the microphones asking them to come forward. Two plastic seats away, Khadidja, 60, praises the friendliness of her interlocutor, she exclaims: “It is their kindness and their patience that ensure the smooth running of the operations!”.