FRANCE has launched its annual flu jab campaign – but only around one in four people say that they will take it, with the target over-65 group leading the opponents.
Last year one in three people said they would get vaccinated and this year just 28% said they would protect themselves. However, 49% said in a poll for PHR pharmacies group that they “definitely would not” get the jab (up from 33% last year) – with 53% of people saying they did not see the point and 23% that it was “too risky”.
Last winter more than 800 people were admitted to hospital with severe flu with 153 of them dying.
Nearly 10 million people are in at-risk groups, with the over-65s and people with breathing difficulties and other chronic illnesses being the main targets. But the number of over-65s ready to be vaccinated has fallen dramatically from 75% in 2012 to 58% this year.
Numbers have been dropping in recent years, with one in two of people in the target groups getting the vaccination last year against 60% in 2009 – just as the controversial H1N1 vaccine was being launched.
The vaccine can be bought in pharmacies for €6.14 and is reimbursed at 65% for most people but free for people in at-risk groups. It should be administered by a doctor or nurse. The cost of €6.30 is reimbursed at 60%.
To provide maximum protection, the vaccination should be administered between mid-October and mid-November, just before the winter strikes. It takes about two weeks to take effect and lasts for about eight months as the vaccine has been designed to combat current flu viruses.
Side-effects are minimal, with around 10% of people reporting redness, swelling or pain after the injection and some reporting slight flu symptoms of muscle pain and slight fever.