CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP
(Illustrative photo of a person being vaccinated at a vaccination center in Marseille in August 2022)
VACCINATION – Campaign in full wave. France launched its flu vaccination campaign on Tuesday, October 18, the authorities hoping to avoid a heavy epidemic in a health context already marked by a wave of Covid-19.
Targeted people, at risk, can now get a free flu shot from a doctor, pharmacy, nurse or midwife. These people mainly include people over 65, pregnant women, severely obese (BMI over 40) and patients with certain chronic diseases such as diabetes. The flu vaccine will be reserved for them until November 15. Subsequently, all French people will be able to benefit from it, at their own expense if they are not part of the target.
But in this eighth wave of Covid-19, the authorities are once again challenged to double vaccination against influenza and Covid. A new recall campaign is at work against the latter and, with the flu, the targets largely overlap. Among the few discrepancies, people between the ages of 60 and 65 are concerned by anti-Covid and not anti-flu vaccination.
Kill two birds with one stone, but not in the same arm
A question then arises for those concerned by this double campaign: is it possible to kill two birds with one stone and be vaccinated against both pathologies at the same time?
The Haute Autorité de Santé, which maintains its recommendation to combine the vaccination reminder campaign against Covid-19 with that of vaccination against influenza, recalls that “ simultaneous injection of the two vaccines is possible “. However, they must be carried out on ” two separate injection sites “.
In other words, you can go to your doctor to get vaccinated against the flu by giving the injection in one arm, then immediately doing the booster shot against Covid-19 in the other arm. ” There is no time limit “Between the two, provides Health Insurance.
“A number of our fellow citizens have reservations (and) we respect that” despite the proven absence of risk, we admit to the ministry. But “The message is still to have the two vaccinations in a relatively short period of time. »
Not ” trivialize » the Covid
Even if currently, the flu comes down to a few sporadic cases in France, and it is impossible to know what extent the epidemic will take. But several experts are already worried about a difficult year.
” There are several reasons “detailed Jean-Daniel Lelièvre, referring in particular to data from countries in the southern hemisphere, including Australia: the flu epidemic, which takes place there before the countries of the North, has resulted in fairly severe symptoms.
But the concerns also come, in several respects, from the context linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. After nearly three years, “we use the mask much less, we pay less attention”underlines the immunologist.
Another negative element, last year, in a context blurred by the launch of a booster vaccination campaign against Covid, the French received little vaccination against the flu: barely more than half of those eligible did. “So immunity tends to drop in the general population”concluded Jean-Daniel Lelièvre.
“We must not trivialize” the Covid, the Minister of Health, François Braun, recently told AFP “We must also protect against the flu. That’s good, the barrier gestures, they protect from one as from the other. »
See also on The HuffPost: Why Vaccinating Over 60s Isn’t Superfluous