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What you need to know about this year’s flu vaccination in France

From Tuesday adults in France are encouraged to get vaccinated against flu before the virus takes hold during the winter months. Last year the flu virus caused 9,500 deaths in France.

What you need to know about this year's flu vaccination in France
The vaccine can now be purchased at pharmacies in France. Photo: AFP

France launched its annual flu vaccine campaign on Tuesday to encourage adults, particularly the more vulnerable, to get the jab before the virus becomes problematic during the winter months.

“The seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for those people at risk of a serious bout of flu. For those people the vaccine is free and remains the most effective way of reducing serious complications linked to the flu,” read a statement on the Assurance Maladie website.

What's new for this year is that it's a lot simpler for people to get immunised.

Following a successful trial those people in groups considered vulnerable to catching the virus can now simply go to a pharmacy and buy the vaccine which can be administered by a specialist member of staff or indeed a doctor or nurse.

The vaccine itself costs €6, of which 65 percent is refunded, and you will also need to pay an appointment fee for the vaccine to be injected.

However for those in the vulnerable groups, their costs will be covered 100 percent. Some people in these groups will receive a voucher from their local CPAM which they can take to the pharmacy, but if you fall into one of the below groups and want the vaccine, you can get a prescription from your doctor.

Pharmacies who have staff trained to administer the jab will advertise their services by putting posters in the window.

Anyone under the age of 18 will still need a prescription from their doctor to obtain the vaccine.

Those vulnerable groups include: 

  • People aged over 65
  • Adults over 18 years of age with chronic illnesses like respiratory or cardiovascular diseases
  • People considered obese
  • Pregnant women aged 18 or older 
  • Close family and friends of some infants under 6 months of age with high risk factors.

Health professionals who have regular and close contact with patients are also advised  to get the jab.

People who are not in the vulnerable groups can still get the vaccine, but will need a prescription from their doctor.

According to French health authorities, the flu caused the death of 9,500 people in France last year with the epidemic beginning in January and lasting until March.

During the epidemic some 1.8 million people had to consult a doctor and 65,600 patients were admitted to hospital emergency wards

The World Health Organisation believes that 75 percent of those vulnerable to catching the flu virus need to get immunised to prevent an epidemic.

It takes 15 days from receiving the jab to being fully immunised, so people are advised to get it as soon as possible.

Member comments

  1. I find it disappointing that in France as well as in the USA, “Big Pharma” is conducting its highly profitable Annual Scare Campaign about its essentially BOGUS “flu shots.”

    Medical scientists (yes, epidemiologists) whom I know say that each year’s batch is only effective (at best) against some 40% of the flu types out there. And each year’s new Devil’s Brew “Shot” is likely to be ZERO percent effective on any radically new variant that arrives (the only true danger here). [Sure, very frail people DO die from the flu; some also die or get very sick from the shots].

    In addition, (except for RADICAL departures such as the entirely shape-shifted 1918 flu) all current flus ARE minor variants on existing ones. Thus “older people” have far MORE left-over immmunity to flu than do younger people, especially children (who haven’t had time to develop any at all).

    The whole thing IS a “conventional wisdom” / highly profitable Big Lie campaign, based on fear tactics (“oh you poor feeble old thing, you MUST get a shot against the TERRIBLE flu”) and on the “concept” that older people are all trembly, weak and “vulnerable.” BAH.

    What a total CROCK. (BTY I am NOT an “anti-vaxer;” it ALSO IS an obscenity that so many ignorant twits are increasing society’s likelihood of measles, polio, smallpox and other horrific (and totally preventable) diseases due their having believed NONSENSE on “social” media.

    But flu shots? C’est ridicule. There IS a (state-reimbursed) sucker born every minute.

  2. I would suggest that people follow the advice given by dedicated health professionals who have truly analyzed the pros and cons. They have concluded that flu shots save lives.

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France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25

Free birth control for all women under 25 will be available in France from Saturday, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women don't stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25
A doctor holds an interuterine contraceptive device (IUD) before inserting it in a patient. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP

The scheme, which could benefit three million women, covers the pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other methods composed of steroid hormones. Contraception for minors was already free in France.

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, make contraception free for teens. Britain makes several forms of contraception free to all.

France announced the extension to women under 25 in September, saying surveys showed a decline in the use of contraception mainly for financial reasons.

The move is part of a series of measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to boost women’s rights and alleviate youth poverty. The free provision is supported by women’s groups including the association En Avant Tous.

“Between 18 and 25-years-old, women are very vulnerable because they lose a lot of rights compared to when they were minors and are very precarious economically,” spokeswoman Louise Delavier told AFP.

Leslie Fonquerne, an expert in gender issues, said there was more to be done.

“This measure in no way resolves the imbalance in the contraceptive burden between women and men,” the sociologist said.

In some developed countries, the free contraception won by women after decades of campaigning is coming under attack again from the religious right.

In the United States, former president Barack Obama’s signature health reform, known as Obamacare, gave most people with health insurance free access to birth control.

But his successor Donald Trump scrapped the measure, allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage on religious grounds — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020.

Poland’s conservative government has also heavily restricted access to emergency contraception as part of its war on birth control.