Fever, sore throat? The return of autumn also signals the seasonal flu. This viral infection affects between two and six million people in France each year and causes around 10,000 deaths. In order to protect vulnerable people, the health authorities invite them, as every year, to be vaccinated.

Here’s the most important information to know about this promotion, which begins on Tuesday, October 18 in mainland France, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Guyana.

1Who is affected by this campaign?

The flu vaccination campaign is aimed primarily at vulnerable people: people aged 65 and over, people who are immunocompromised or have certain chronic diseases. (the list is available on the government’s website dedicated to vaccination), pregnant women, people suffering from obesity and people around infants under 6 months at risk severe influenza (the criteria are detailed at government website dedicated to vaccination).

are also concerned health professionals and professionals in medico-social institutions in contact with patients in the risk zone, domestic helpers for vulnerable private employers and professionals exposed to swine and bird flu viruses.

2Who can I be vaccinated by?

If you are affected by one of these situations, you will receive an invitation from Medicare to be vaccinated and a coupon that allows you to pick up the flu vaccine for free at a pharmacy. If it is not cesa healthcare professional can give you one. In addition to this voucher isPersons under the age of 18 must have a doctor’s prescription before vaccination.

Four types of professionals can then carry out the vaccination: doctors, nurses, midwives (especially for pregnant women and those around infants at risk), volunteer pharmacists (for adults only).

3Why is vaccination recommended?

Influenza can be particularly serious for weak people. The goal is therefore “to achieve (…) vaccination coverage of at least 75% for all target groups”recalls the High Authority for Health (HAS) to limit hospitalizations and deaths.

While the Covid-19 epidemic is not over, and even appears to have entered its eighth wave in France with the arrival of autumn,has HAS remember that he is “It is important to maintain vaccination efforts against seasonal influenza to limit the overload of the health care system”.

4Can I be vaccinated if I am not considered “exposed”?

Influenza vaccines are primarily reserved for people who are targeted according to the above criteria. During the first four weeks of the vaccination campaign, from October 18 to November 15, only the latter can be vaccinated. After this date, vaccination will be open to everyone, but will not be reimbursed by Medicare. The price of the vaccine varies between 6 euros and 10 euros at pharmacies, the site specifies service-public.fr.

5Can I get the flu and Covid-19 vaccine at the same time?

The recall campaign against Covid-19 with the new vaccines adapted to Omicron began on 3 October. However, the population for which an anti-Covid-19 vaccination booster is recommended is, for the most part, also eligible for vaccination against seasonal influenza. To “Avoid any delay in influenza vaccination and simplify the vaccination process”, HAS therefore recommended combining the two campaigns by being vaccinated on the same day against Covid-19 and influenza. In this case, one vaccine is administered in each arm.

“Vaccination against Covid-19 is fully compatible with the annual flu vaccination”, assured the Ministry of Health (PDF link) in September. “There are no contraindications. You can do both at the same time” because “there is no interaction between the two vaccines”confirmed virologist Bruno Lina, October 7, on franceinfo. However, it is also possible to place them for a few days or a few weeks if you prefer.

If double vaccination poses no particular risk, a double infection with Covid-19 and influenza can, on the contrary, be dangerous. “in vulnerable people”assured the ministry (PDF) in July.

6Should we fear a major epidemic this winter?

It is difficult to know in advance the extent of influenza epidemics, the health authorities stress. On the other hand, the latter fear a major epidemic this year because influenza viruses have circulated less since 2020 due to barrier movements and health restrictions. Gold, “an influenza epidemic is brought under control when there is collective immunity acquired by the regular circulation of the virus”recalled virologist Bruno Lina at franceinfo in early October. “As the circulation of influenza has decreased over the past two winters, is our protective system less good, and will the virus circulate more easily and more intensely?”wondered the scientist.

Epidemiologist Jean-Daniel Lelièvre, head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Henri-Mondor Hospital in Créteil, put forward three other reasons the beginning of October with franceinfo in favor of a major epidemic: There were very few vaccinations [contre la grippe] the previous years. So immunity tends to decline in the general population. Then we use the mask much less, we pay less attention. And then if we take a look at what’s happening in the southern hemisphere [touché par la grippe avant l’hémisphère nord]we see that the forms are more serious.”