France has increased by 30 percent its order of flu jabs this year and is set to launch a major campaign to get people vaccinated with the aim of avoiding flooding hospitals with both flu and Covd-19 patients this winter.
So here's what you need to know.
The campaign officially starts on Tuesday, October 13th and runs until January 31st, although health authorities are advising people to get vaccinated early before the flu begins to circulate.
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The following groups are strongly recommended to have the jab
- Over 65s
- People with chronic or long-term health conditions
- People with a BMI of 40 or over
- Pregnant women
- People who live with those who cannot be vaccinated, including babies and those who are immunocompromised
Health workers and carers are also recommended to be vaccinated, although anyone who wants the jab can get it.
Doctors, nurses and midwives are all able to administer the vaccine and from 2019 it is also possible to get the jab in some pharmacies.
People identified as being in high risk groups will be contacted advising them to get the vaccine, they will be sent a voucher which can be taken to the pharmacy to exchange for a vaccine.
If you fall into one of the risk groups but have not been contacted, you can still make an appointment to get the vaccine. Children under the age of 18 will need a prescription from their doctor, but adults do not.
Pharmacies which have staff trained to administer the vaccine will have posters in their window advertising this service.
The vaccine itself is €6 and if you have it administered by a doctor or nurse you will need to pay for an appointment at the usual rate – usually €25 for a doctor's appointment. The vaccine is refunded 100 percent via your carte vitale and the cost of the appointment is refunded at 100 percent for people in the high risk groups where the jab is recommended. Those who are not in a high risk group will have their appointment cost refunded at the standard rate.
“For the first time, in addition to orders from pharmacies, we have secured state orders and we have 30 percent more vaccine doses than in previous years,” health minister Olivier Véran said in a speech to the French Senate.
“We must be extremely careful with the vaccination of vulnerable groups and caregivers.”
The vaccines Influvac Tetra and Vaxigrip Tetra are being offered in France this year.
France's government advice page states: “The vaccine is safe and has few, if any, side effects (most often mild and short-lasting local reactions, more rarely fever, muscle or joint pain, headache).