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Flu vaccination campaign starts with letters to 11million people in ‘at risk’ groups

Winter vaccination campaign starts and ‘at risk’ groups receive vouchers for free grippe vaccine doses

10 October 2016
By Ken Seaton

About 11million people have been sent letters reminding them to get their flu vaccination – and avoid health problems that each year hit about 2.5m people and cost up to 3,000 deaths.

The letters, aimed at over-65s and others in ‘at risk’ groups such as those with heart or lung problems, diabetics, pregnant women and their immediate families or obese people, contain vouchers for ‘grippe’ vaccine doses. The doses should be obtained from pharmacies and then taken to a doctor or nurse to receive the vaccination.

Vaccine is free for those in at-risk groups with vouchers but anyone else who wishes it should contact their GP for a prescription. The vaccine costs €6-€10 and the vaccination is reimbursed 100% in the usual way by the Assurance Maladie and their mutuelle.

In 2015 the number of people being vaccinated rose for the first time since 2009 – from 46% of people in at-risk groups to 48% - but the health ministry said more people needed to take part.

There was a 14% drop in the numbers being vaccinated after the controversial H1N1 vaccine in 2009 and the health ministry said that the large majority of people hospitalised for flu-related problems had not been vaccinated.

Flu can lead to serious problems such as pneumonia or aggravation of a chronic health issue such as heart or lung conditions or diabetes.

Once vaccinated it takes about 15 days for the vaccine to take effect, so people should take precautions during this time such as washing hands and avoiding close contact with flu sufferers.

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