France’s flu vaccination campaign begins today (October 22), four days earlier than originally planned.
The government hopes that this vaccination drive will complement the Covid vaccination campaign and help control the number of people who are admitted to hospital with one or both of the viruses.
Since the start of 2020, when lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures became part of daily life, “there has been very little circulation of the flu virus, [but] it has not disappeared,” said Jérôme Salomon, France’s directeur général de la Santé, during a press conference yesterday (October 21)
Health experts therefore fear that this winter there will be a larger than usual flu outbreak, as very few people currently have immunity, and people begin to relax their observance of Covid-related hygiene measures.
“The people who are at risk of serious forms of Covid are also at risk of a bad case of flu,” Mr Salomon added.
Therefore, this year’s flu vaccine supply will be around 17% larger than last year, and vulnerable groups are urged to take theirs up.
These groups include:
People will chronic health conditions
Immunosuppressed patients and their immediate entourage
People who have contact with babies under six months of age
Flu vaccinations have already begun in care homes, where the campaign launched on Monday. The wider campaign will last until January 31, 2022.
How do I get my flu jab?
Eligible groups should by now have received a letter containing a vaccine voucher, making sure that their jab will be fully covered by Assurance maladie.
Having collected their vaccine, these people can then be injected by a healthcare professional of their choice – whether pharmacist, doctor, nurse or midwife – without needing a prescription.
If you are an adult and have not yet received your invitation from Assurance maladie, you can ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to print you a letter using the professional amelipro portal. Pregnant women can ask their midwives.
Adults who do not belong to a priority groups can still receive the vaccine if their doctor prescribes it for them, in which case the cost will still be covered partly by Assurance Maladie.
Under-18s with health conditions making them eligible for the vaccine must, on the other hand, consult their doctor and obtain a prescription.
If you do not have a prescription, you may also be able to buy the vaccine from a pharmacy for €6.20-€11.13, depending on the type of vaccine, after November 22.
The vaccine becomes effective around 15 days after injection, so it is important to get the jab as early as possible.
The healthcare quality regulator, Haute autorité de santé, has confirmed that it is safe to receive both the Covid and the flu vaccine on the same day: one jab in each arm.
This winter, people are also encouraged to continue observing social distancing and hygiene measures, to avoid a co-circulation of the Covid and influenza viruses.