The vaccine against influenza and against Covid on the same day, is it possible?

A health worker administers a dose of Imvanex, a vaccine to protect against monkeypox virus, at a municipal vaccination center in Marseille on August 10, 2022. (Photo by Christophe SIMON / AFP)
CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP A health worker administers a dose of Imvanex, a vaccine to protect against monkeypox virus, at a municipal vaccination center in Marseille on August 10, 2022. (Photo by Christophe SIMON / AFP)

CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP

(Illustrative photo of a person being vaccinated at a vaccination center in Marseille in August 2022)

VACCINATION – Campaign in full swing. France launched its flu vaccination campaign on Tuesday, October 18, with authorities hoping to avoid a major epidemic in a health context already marked by a wave of Covid-19.

Targeted people, in the danger zone, can now get a free flu vaccination from a doctor, pharmacist, nurse or midwife. These people mainly include people over 65, pregnant women, the severely obese (BMI over 40) and patients with certain chronic diseases such as diabetes. The flu vaccine will be reserved for them until November 15. Subsequently, all French people will be able to benefit from it, at their own expense, if they are not part of the target.

But in this eighth wave of Covid-19, the authorities are again challenged to double vaccination against influenza and Covid. A new recall campaign is underway for the latter, and with influenza, the targets largely overlap. Among the few discrepancies, people between the ages of 60 and 65 are concerned about anti-Covid and not anti-flu vaccination.

Kill two birds with one stone, but not in the same arm

A question then arises for those affected by this dual campaign: is it possible to kill two birds with one stone and be vaccinated against both pathologies at the same time?

The Haute Autorité de Santé, which maintains its recommendation to combine the vaccination reminder campaign against Covid-19 with vaccination against influenza, recalls that ” simultaneous injection of the two vaccines is possible “. However, they must be carried out on ” two separate injection sites “.

In other words, you can go to your doctor to get vaccinated against the flu by giving the shot in one arm and then immediately take the booster shot against Covid-19 in the other arm. ” There is no time limit “Between the two, health insurance provides.

“A number of our fellow citizens have reservations (and) we respect that” despite the demonstrated absence of risk, we concede to the Ministry. But “The message is still to get the two vaccinations in a relatively short time. »

does not” downplay » Covid

Although the flu is currently down to a few sporadic cases in France and it is impossible to know to what extent the epidemic will take. But several experts are already worried about a difficult year.

“There are several reasons”detailed Jean-Daniel Lelièvre, referring in particular to data from countries in the southern hemisphere, including Australia: the influenza epidemic, which takes place there before the countries of the Nordic countries, has resulted in quite severe symptoms.

But the concerns also come in several respects from the context linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. After almost three years, “we use the mask much less, we pay less attention”emphasizes the immunologist.

Another negative element, last year, in a context obscured by the launch of a booster vaccination campaign against Covid, the French received little vaccination against influenza: Barely more than half of those eligible did so. “So immunity tends to decline in the general population”concluded Jean-Daniel Lelièvre.

“We must not trivialize” Covid, Health Minister François Braun recently told AFP “We must also protect ourselves against the flu. It is good, the barrier movements, they protect against one as against the other. »

Also look at The HuffPost: Why vaccination over 60s is not redundant

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