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HEALTH

When, where and how to get the flu vaccine in France

The seasonal flu vaccination campaign is open in France, here's what you need to know about getting your shots, and also getting a Covid booster if necessary.

When, where and how to get the flu vaccine in France
A nurse gives a flu shot (Photo by JEAN-PIERRE MULLER / AFP)

The campaign began on Tuesday October 18th for those in high-risk groups and expanded to the general population on November 15th.

Covid second booster shots were already available to certain groups, but anyone in a high risk group who has not already had a second booster can get one at the same time as their flu vaccine.

Who?

The campaign began on October 18th, for those in a high-risk group and then opened up on November 15th to everyone else.

French public health authorities strongly recommend the seasonal flu vaccine for the most vulnerable people, namely: 

  • People aged 65 and over
  • People with heart or respiratory disease
  • People with chronic liver disease with or without cirrhosis
  • People suffering from obesity
  • People with other long-term health conditions – you can find the full list here
  • Pregnant women
  • Cruise ship and airplane crews and personnel accompanying travel groups (guides)
  • Vaccination of caregivers and people looking after young children or the elderly is strongly recommended.

Where?

Doctors, midwives, nurses, and pharmacists are capable of delivering flu shots in France. However, for nurses and pharmacists there are some specific guidelines.

Nurses can only vaccinate those without a prescription as long as they are over 16 and do not have certain allergies. The same goes for pharmacists, who must also record the vaccination in the medical records of the person being vaccinated.

Most pharmacies are taking part in the flu vaccination campaign this year, but some smaller pharmacies may not be able to offer it.

How much?

People in high-risk groups should receive a flu vaccine voucher, which you can take it to a pharmacist who will provide you with a vaccine free of charge. 

If this is your first time getting a flu shot in France, or you haven’t received the voucher, visit your doctor who can prescribe it for you. Then you can bring that prescription to the pharmacist who will provide you with the vaccine.

Others

If you’re not in one of the high-risk groups outlined above you can still get the flu vaccine, but you have to wait until November 15th, when it opens up to the general population.

Those who don’t have a voucher or prescription for the flu shot will have to pay for it, with the price of the shot varying from €6 to €10 depending on the pharmacy. This cost is not reimbursed on the carte vitale. If you want your doctor to administer the shot you will also have to pay the standard €25 appointment fee.

Covid boosters

As of December 9th, the second Covid vaccine booster shot is available to all groups, French Health Minister François Braun told BFMTV. 

The new dual-strain vaccines designed to counter both the original Covid virus and the Omicron variant have been available in France since late September.

What about monkeypox?

Ahead of the flu campaign, French health authorities also issued a press release explaining that getting a Covid-19 vaccine and a Monkeypox vaccine at the same time does not pose a health risk to the patient, and is indeed possible. 

The monkeypox vaccine is already available in France to at-risk groups.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Who is eligible for the monkeypox vaccine in France?

As of early September, the number of new monkeypox cases across Europe had been on the decline. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported that in mid-July about 400 new cases were identified each day in mid-July, and in early September that amount is closer to 100 new cases per day.

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HEALTH

Macron announces free condoms for under-25s in France

French president Emmanuel Macron has announced that from the beginning of January, condoms will be available for free in pharmacies for young people.

Macron announces free condoms for under-25s in France

Speaking while on a visit to Vienne in south west France, the president said: “In pharmacies, condoms will be free for 18-25 year-olds. This will begin on January 1st.

He added: “It is a small revolution of prevention.”

Since 2019 condoms have been available on prescription from doctors and midwives, with the cost reimbursed via the carte vitale health card.

However, Macron’s announcement goes a step further and makes them available on an over-the-counter basis from pharmacies, without the need for a prescription or to obtain a reimbursement via the health card.

Since the beginning of 2022, women aged between 18 and 25 have been offered the contraceptive pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other long-term contraceptives for free, while all women can now access the morning-after pill for free. 

Under-18s are already entitled to free contraception, but there were concerns that some women were stopping contraception once they turned 18 because of the cost.

The French government also launched on December 1st a new advertising campaign around AIDS – reminding people that with correct treatment AIDS patients can end with an undetectable viral load and therefore be unable to pass on the virus.

The campaign, which is appearing on billboards around France, is a play on words on séropositif (HIV positive). 

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