six questions about the vaccination campaign which begins on Tuesday

Fever, sore throat? The return of autumn also signals that of the seasonal flu. This viral infection affects between two and six million people in France each year and causes around 10,000 deaths. To protect fragile people, the health authorities invite them, as every year, to be vaccinated.

Here is the main information to know about this campaign, which begins Tuesday, October 18 in mainland France, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Guyana.

1Who is affected by this campaign?

The flu vaccination campaign is aimed primarily at vulnerable people: people aged 65 and over, people who are immunocompromised or have certain chronic diseases. (the list is available on the government website dedicated to vaccination), pregnant women, people suffering from obesity and those around infants under 6 months at risk severe flu (the criteria are detailed on the government website dedicated to vaccination).

Are also concerned health professionals and professionals in medico-social establishments in contact with patients at risk, home helpers for vulnerable private employers and professionals exposed to swine and avian influenza viruses.

2Who can I get vaccinated by?

If you are affected by one of these situations, you will receive an invitation from Medicare to be vaccinated and a voucher allowing you to collect the flu vaccine free of charge from a pharmacy. If it’s not the cacea healthcare professional can give you one. Besides this voucher, thePersons under the age of 18 must have a medical prescription prior to vaccination.

Four types of professionals can then carry out the vaccination: doctors, nurses, midwives (in particular for pregnant women and those around infants at risk), volunteer pharmacists (only for adults).

3Why is vaccination recommended?

The flu can be particularly serious for frail people. The objective is therefore “to achieve (…) vaccination coverage of at least 75% for all target groups”recalls the High Authority for Health (HAS) in order to limit hospitalizations and deaths.

While the Covid-19 epidemic is not over, and even seems to have entered its eighth wave in France with the arrival of autumn, thehas HAS recalls that he is “It is important to maintain vaccination efforts against seasonal flu in order to limit the overload of the healthcare system”.

4Can I get vaccinated if I am not considered “at risk”?

Influenza vaccines are reserved primarily for people targeted by the criteria mentioned above. During the first four weeks of the vaccination campaign, from October 18 to November 15, only the latter can be vaccinated. Beyond this date, vaccination will be open to all, but will not be reimbursed by Medicare. The price of the vaccine varies between 6 euros and 10 euros in pharmacies, specifies the site service-public.fr.

5Can I get the flu and Covid-19 vaccine at the same time?

The recall campaign against Covid-19 with the new vaccines adapted to Omicron began on October 3. However, the population for which an anti-Covid-19 vaccination booster is recommended is for the most part also eligible for vaccination against seasonal influenza. For “Avoid any delay in influenza vaccination and simplify the vaccination course”, HAS therefore recommended combining the two campaigns by being vaccinated on the same day against Covid-19 and influenza. In this case, a vaccine is administered in each arm.

“Vaccination against Covid-19 is fully compatible with the annual flu vaccination”, assured the Ministry of Health (PDF link) in September. “There are no contraindications. You can do both at the same time” because “there is no interaction between the two vaccines”confirmed virologist Bruno Lina, October 7, on franceinfo. However, it is also possible to space them out by a few days or a few weeks, if you prefer.

If double vaccination does not pose any particular risk, a double infection with Covid-19 and influenza can on the contrary be dangerous. “in vulnerable people”ensured the ministry (PDF) in July.

6Should we fear a major epidemic this winter?

It is difficult to know in advance the extent of influenza epidemics, underline the health authorities. On the other hand, the latter fear a major epidemic this year because influenza viruses have circulated less since 2020 due to barrier gestures and health restrictions. Gold, “an influenza epidemic is brought under control when there is collective immunity acquired by the regular circulation of the virus”recalled virologist Bruno Lina on franceinfo in early October. “As the circulation of the flu has decreased over the past two winters, is our protection system less good and will the virus circulate more easily and more intensely?”wondered the scientist.

Epidemiologist Jean-Daniel Lelièvre, head of the infectious diseases department at the Henri-Mondor hospital in Créteil, advanced three other reasons early October with franceinfo in favor of a major epidemic: There were very few vaccinations [contre la grippe] the previous years. So immunity tends to drop in the general population. Then, we use the mask much less, we pay less attention. And then, if we take a look at what is happening in the southern hemisphere [touché par la grippe avant l’hémisphère nord]we see that the forms are more severe.”

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