“My friends are afraid of infecting me”: being immunocompromised in the midst of a wave Omicron

“Today, immunocompromised people are afraid. » Carmen Hadey, referent of the SOS hepatitis association, is herself immunocompromised. While the Omicron variant, particularly contagious but most often causing less severe forms, is perceived as less dangerous by the population, for these people, it induces renewed fears. And a daily life placed under the sign of vigilance.

→ ANALYSIS. Covid-19: why have some people never caught it?

Because if immunocompromised people are more likely to be infected and to develop a serious form of the disease, they also run “ the risk of not having the protective capacity induced by vaccination” for those who do not respond or hardly respond, explains Yves Coppieters, epidemiologist and professor of public health at the Free University of Brussels. Thus, while around 230,000 people are severely immunocompromised in France, they represent up to 30% of stays in intensive care.

Disrupted family ties and professional life

François, who received a kidney transplant in 2019, is one of those French people. Although he received his 4and dose of vaccine just before Christmas to boost his immunity, he spent the holidays with his mask and the anguish of being contaminated by a member of his family. “The links with the family are very different when you are immunocompromised: the immunocompromised person will be afraid of being contaminated and the person opposite is afraid of transmitting the virus and of being responsible”, he explains. The protective physical distance between him and his loved ones has destabilized their relationship: “It’s not like we’re strangers… but rather acquaintances. »

The Omicron wave has also shaken up the 27-year-old’s professional life. Arrested for a month by his doctor when the variant arrived, François then had no other choice but to resume his work as an extracurricular activity leader in an establishment in La Manche: “Immunocompromised people also have bills to pay,” he points out. In contact with children on a daily basis, he fears the easing of health restrictions which is looming in February: “I may have to be arrested and reconfigured. »

→ INVESTIGATION. Covid-19: “Test, trace, isolate”, a strategy undermined by Omicron

Drastically reduced social interactions

A relief that Carmen also apprehends. This former nurse living in Strasbourg does not respond to vaccination and regrets that FFP2 masks are not more generalized as is the case in Germany: “ When I hear that on February 2, they want to lift the wearing of the mask outdoors, I’m afraid, “ she breathes. Her vulnerability to the virus pushes her to be particularly vigilant.

→ DEBATE. Covid-19: is it too early to lift the restrictions?

Since the start of the pandemic, the retiree has not lowered her guard: barrier gestures, hand washing and disinfection of shopping are still part of her daily life. But since the appearance of the Omicron variant, her social interactions have been drastically reduced and Carmen feels isolated. Whereas previously she allowed herself a few lunches at the restaurant with friends, these outings are no longer on the program: “Now my friends are afraid of contaminating me”, she says. Same problem on the side of his family: “At New Year, my children did not want to come so as not to risk infecting me. » Then of course there is the telephone, “But it’s still not the same…”


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