France is launching its annual seasonal flu vaccination campaign on Friday, in a particularly uncertain context because still marked by the Covid-19 epidemic.
Since early 2020, “the flu virus has circulated very little, (but) has not disappeared,” summarized Jérome Salomon, Director General of Health, Thursday at a press conference.
From this Friday, the French can therefore be vaccinated for free against the seasonal flu if they are part of the categories that are recommended to do so.
These are mainly people over 65 and pregnant women, but also people with certain pathologies: asthma, diabetes, heart failure, AIDS, etc. All caregivers are also concerned.
This launch concerns vaccination for independent people, who can request it from their doctor or a pharmacist. In nursing homes, the campaign has already started on Monday.
The government intends to take advantage of the flu vaccination to breathe new life into that against Covid-19, while French people at risk can be injected with a booster dose of anti-Covid vaccine since early September. However, “the same people are at risk of serious Covid and severe flu,” said Mr. Salomon.
Covid and flu vaccines at the same time
The health authorities therefore want to kill two birds with one stone. Concretely, it will be possible – and even encouraged – to receive at the same time his third dose of anti-Covid vaccine and his flu vaccine: one shot per arm.
Like every year, it is difficult to know how the flu will hit many French people. Last year, in the midst of the second wave of Covid-19, there was no seasonal flu epidemic.
Successive confinements and barrier measures to fight the epidemic had then reduced the circulation of other viruses, starting with that of influenza.
On the flip side, the low circulation of viruses last winter probably reduced the population’s immunity. The government has, in any case, taken its precautions by ordering more flu shots than last year.