ten questions about the vaccination campaign which starts this Tuesday

Fever, chills, cough, fatigue and even joint pain… The arrival of autumn also marks the return of seasonal flu in France. Two to six million people are affected by this viral infection each year, according to figures from Public Health France. Vaccination is strongly recommended by health authorities to limit the risk of a serious form of the disease. Also, a vaccination campaign is set up each year and begins this Tuesday, October 18, 2022 in metropolitan France, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Guyana. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Who can get vaccinated?

From October 18 to November 15, vaccination against influenza is reserved for people at risk, indicates the service-public.fr website, on the recommendation of the High Authority for Health.

People aged 65 and over, people under 65 who are immunocompromised or suffering from certain chronic diseases, pregnant women, people suffering from obesity, those around infants under 6 are given priority to be vaccinated. months at risk (who cannot be vaccinated) and immunocompromised people.

Health professionals and medico-social establishments in contact with patients at risk and home helpers are also targeted by this first phase of vaccination.

For the first time, professionals exposed to swine and avian influenza viruses are also recommended vaccination against influenza now.

All other candidates for vaccination will be able to receive an injection but only after November 15.

2. Who can get vaccinated?

Several health professionals are authorized to inject the flu vaccine. First, the attending physicians. Nurses can also vaccinate people aged 16 and over without a prescription and people under 16 with a prescription.

Midwives can also vaccinate pregnant women, adults around pregnant women, and infants under eight weeks of age. They can also vaccinate minors, targeted by the recommendations, specifies the Health Insurance site.

Persons 16 years and older can also be vaccinated by a pharmacist.

3. When should you get vaccinated?

The flu vaccination campaign is open from this Tuesday, October 18 to Tuesday, January 31, 2023. The first four weeks being reserved for those most at risk, all others can be vaccinated in the remaining time.

The High Authority for Health indicates that vaccination offers optimal protection against the virus during the three months following the injection, knowing that it takes about fifteen days to be protected.

Note that, according to Public Health France, the epidemic lasts on average between 10 and 11 weeks each year in metropolitan France. It can occur between the months of November and April, with a start generally at the end of December or the beginning of January.

4. What vaccines are available?

Four flu vaccines, which protect against four strains of the virus, are available this year.

From 6 months, Fluarix Tetra, InfluvacTetra and VaxigripTetra vaccines can be used, including in pregnant women.

These same vaccines can be injected into people aged 65 and over, as well as the Efluelda vaccine, reserved for this public.

5. Should several injections be made?

The flu vaccine only requires one shot for everyone over the age of 9. Two injections are on the other hand necessary for children under 9 years old, never vaccinated against the flu. They must be carried out four weeks apart.

A vaccination is necessary every year since the vaccine is adapted to the viral strains, which vary from year to year. The proposed dose evolves in order to best protect against the viruses likely to circulate.

6. What are the side effects associated with the flu vaccine?

Side effects from the flu vaccine are mild. It is indeed possible to feel pain accompanied by redness at the injection site, muscle pain or even headaches sometimes accompanied by fever. Symptoms that normally disappear shortly after vaccination.

Some more serious allergic reactions are possible, but extremely rare.

7. What are the risks of not getting vaccinated?

The flu virus can cause a high fever (around 39°C) accompanied by chills. It can also lead to intense fatigue with a feeling of depression and loss of appetite. Muscle aches, headaches and a dry, painful cough are also among the major symptoms of the disease.

Risks of complication of the disease are possible, often in the people most at risk. The flu can cause extensive lung damage or affect other organs such as the heart or the brain.

It can also cause decompensation in people with chronic diseases, which means a sudden deterioration in the person’s general condition.

Note that a person infected with the flu virus is contagious for up to five days after the onset of symptoms in adults and up to seven days in children.

8. Is it possible to get vaccinated against the flu and Covid-19 at the same time?

While the vaccine reminder campaign against Covid-19 began on October 3, the High Authority for Health recommends “to avoid any delay in influenza vaccination and to simplify the vaccination course, to offer the concomitant administration of vaccines against Covid-19 and against seasonal influenza as soon as a person is eligible for both vaccinations”.

The Ministry of Health, for its part, assured that “vaccination against Covid-19 is fully compatible with annual flu vaccination”.

Read also: Is there one and the same vaccine against influenza and Covid-19?

The two vaccinations can thus be carried out on the same day, if the patient brings his dose of flu vaccine to the appointment. No delay is necessary between the two injections, whether it is a booster dose or not, but it is possible to space them out by a few days or a few weeks, according to the patient’s wishes.

9. Can you get a flu shot if you are positive for Covid-19?

In the event of symptoms of Covid-19 or in the presence of fever, Health Insurance recommends postponing the flu vaccination. The same applies to people in contact with a Covid-19 patient, for whom it is preferable to postpone the injection until after the screening test to be carried out on D + 2, in the event of a negative test.

In general, it is recommended to postpone the date of vaccination when the patient is unwell and has a fever.

10. Is the flu vaccine payable?

The flu vaccine is fully covered by health insurance for those most at risk of complications and for those around them. Are concerned: people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, people with certain chronic conditions, obese people, those around immunocompromised people, around infants under six months with risk factors severe flu, people staying in a follow-up care establishment or in a medico-social accommodation establishment, as well as self-employed health professionals.

The people targeted by these recommendations must present their voucher to withdraw their dose of vaccine free of charge from the pharmacy and be reimbursed for the injection.

The flu vaccine is not reimbursed by health insurance for other people. Its price varies on average from 6 to 10 €, depending on the pharmacy.

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