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How and where can I get a flu vaccine in France?

The Local France
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How and where can I get a flu vaccine in France?
A pharmacist vaccinates a patient against the seasonal flu at a pharmacy in Paris (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

France has launched its autumn flu vaccine campaign. Here is what you need to know about getting a jab.


France began its seasonal flu vaccination campaign on October 17th. Every year there are sight variations to the practicalities of the campaign, so there's how things will work in 2023.


In France, health authorities recommend that high-risk groups, including both get the jab - but anyone who wants the shot can get it.

Members of high-risk groups should receive a flu vaccine voucher (bon de prise en charge), which you can take to a pharmacist who will provide you with a vaccine free of charge. 

Previously, the French government has defined high-risk groups as older people (over 65s), people with certain chronic illnesses (list here), pregnant women, obese people and caregivers who work with vulnerable populations.

People who fit the description of 'high-risk' ought to receive a voucher, but if this is your first time getting a flu shot in France, or you haven't your voucher yet, you can 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.

For high-risk people, the flu vaccine is free of charge.

What about people who are not 'high-risk'?

Although not specifically recommended, the vaccine is open to anyone who wants it. In previous years, France instituted 'priority period' during the first couple of weeks of the campaign when it was only open to those in high risk groups, before opening up the shots to everyone. 


However, health authorities have indicated that the 2023-2024 season will do away with the 'prioritisation period', meaning anyone, regardless of risk level, can get the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

The difference is that those not considered to be in a high-risk group will have to pay for their vaccine, and in previous years, the flu vaccine has not been reimbursed by French social security. Full details of the 2023 campaign are yet to be confirmed, but there is no indication that this will change this year.

During the 2022-2023 season, the cost for a non-priority person varied between €6 and €10 depending on the pharmacy. 

If you do not have a carte vitale or you are not yet part of France's social security apparatus, then you can still get a flu vaccine. However, you will likely need to pay full price.

Where can I get a flu vaccine?

Doctors, midwives, nurses and pharmacists can administer flu vaccines, and the most common place to get it is at the pharmacy.

Ask your pharmacist if they are available for walk-in vaccine appointments, as many are. If this is not available, they may ask you to make an appointment, which you can likely do on the spot. 


If you want to be vaccinated outside of a pharmacy, you will still have to go to pick up the vaccine. You will then take it with you to your appointment with your doctor, midwife or nurse. If you are not going directly to your appointment after picking up the vaccine, be sure to keep it cool and refrigerated. 

Appointments for flu vaccines can be made online at Doctolib.

When can I get a flu vaccine?

France typically runs its seasonal flu vaccination campaign starting the autumn and running until March. For 2023, it began on October 17th for all groups.

Can I get a Covid-19 and flu shot at the same time?

Health authorities recommend that those in at-risk groups get both Covid-19 and flu jabs, and they have specified that there are no health risks of doing both vaccines at the same time.


The Covid vaccination campaign began on Monday, October 2nd.

READ MORE: How to get a Covid vaccine in France this October

Like the flu vaccination, it is recommended that high-risk groups get a Covid vaccine booster - but it remains your choice whether you get one, both or neither.

What about children?

The French Haute autorité de santé recommends that all children over the age of 2 with "co-morbidities" get a seasonal influenza vaccine, meaning children in high-risk groups would also receive a voucher to get a flu shot. 

You can also ask your doctor for a prescription for a vaccination if your children are in a high-risk group. 

As for who can vaccinate them, doctors are qualified to vaccinate all minors, including those under the age of 11. Midwives can also vaccinate any minor who is recommended to get a flu vaccine. 

As of August 2023, both nurses and pharmacists in France gained the ability to prescribe and administer 14 different vaccines - including the one against seasonal influenza - to anyone over the age of 11. As such, minors above 11 can get a flu vaccine in a pharmacy, but those under the age of 11 cannot.

Previously, flu vaccine campaigns were aimed at adults, but in February 2023 French health authorities announced a change in strategy, recommending that all children over the age of 2 also get a flu vaccine. 


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sue 2023/09/23 19:25
Are the vaccines open to all or does one have to have a Carte Vitale?
  • Genevieve Mansfield 2023/09/25 13:42
    Thank you for your comment! We have added a line in the article to clear this up - the flu vaccine is open to all, but those without carte vitale will likely have to pay full price.

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