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Covid-19 France: Will we need a vaccination every year?

France’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign has only just started but it might become an annual event

Updated on February 16, to include Dr Fischer's comments

Reader question: I am 52 without any (major) health issues, so I am not expecting to receive a Covid vaccination until some time in the middle of the year. But how long will the immunity last? Will I need to get vaccinated again in 2022?

Short answer: Possibly

“Covid-19 has the potential to become a seasonally recurring disease, like the flu, which could provide a basis for obtaining long-term immunity” stated France’s infectious diseases society Spilf (Société de pathologie infectieuse de langue française). 

It notes that two aspects need to be observed: how long immunity to Covid-19 lasts after vaccination and how the virus evolves. 

If the immune system is no longer able to recognise possible variants of Covid-19, the vaccine will have to be adapted accordingly.

This means it may be the case that people have to be vaccinated every year. 

Dr Alain Fischer, the official coordinator of France’s vaccination campaign, said on February 12 that an annual Covid-19 vaccination is possible.

"It may be necessary to consider booster vaccinations with modified vaccines that follow the evolution of the virus," he said in an interview with public radio network France Info

Many variants of Covid-19 have been recorded so far. Some, like the British variant, are more contagious.

France's Health Minister Olivier Véran has said that while the British variant is more contagious, there is no evidence to suggest it causes more serious health issues or that it is resistant to current vaccines.

Read more:

Covid-19 UK variant: France races to slow spread

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