Flu: all French people soon invited to be vaccinated against the virus?

the essential
The Haute Autorité de Santé has issued a new opinion on influenza vaccination. These recommendations come in a context of generalized epidemic rebound of influenza in France.

She had disappeared from the radar for a few weeks and now the flu resurfaced. In France, contaminations are on the rise again: a somewhat unusual trend for a virus that strikes between 2 and 6 million people per year in a single wave. It is in this context of epidemic rebound that the High Authority of Health has in any case recommended the annual anti-influenza vaccination of minors.

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The health authorities want this vaccination – which can be carried out using a nasal spray – to be integrated into the vaccination schedule to be offered each year to children without comorbidities aged 2 to 17 years old. “The concern is that these younger generations actively participate in the circulation of the virus, explains Anne Goffard, virologist and doctor at the Lille University Hospital. In kindergarten, primary school, college… young people live together all the time, in communities where pathogens circulate very quickly. »

Open vaccination?

If minors do not necessarily develop serious forms of the flu, vaccinating them against this virus would, according to health professionals, slow the circulation of the virus: “Each year, from December to March, you have conjunctions of infections, which put pressure on the country’s health services, describes Jérôme Marty, general practitioner in Fronton (Haute-Garonne). A new vaccination policy would relieve health professionals. »

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Until now, influenza vaccination was only recommended for people over 65 and patients with comorbidities. The opinion which has just been issued by the High Authority for Health makes it possible to put the question of the opening of influenza vaccination to the entire population back on the table. “We know that people who belong to the age group of 25 to 40 years are those who contract the flu the most, explains Anne Goffard. These are the people who have the most diverse and broad social life. »

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Is this reason enough to vaccinate them? “This would protect the most vulnerable people. This is a point that must be discussed, evokes the doctor Jérôme Marty. The problem is that in France – the country of Pasteur – by dint of having developed false problems around vaccination against Covid-19, we end up thinking that vaccination is an exceptional act. It should be a completely ordinary gesture. “For the time being, anyone who wishes can be vaccinated against the virus but for the time being, “the vaccine and the injection are not covered by Health Insurance”, indicates Public Health France.

Is it still time to get vaccinated?

The flu vaccination campaign is due to end on February 28. As France faces an epidemic rebound, is there still time to get vaccinated? “Not really”, replies virologist Anne Goffard: “It’s too late. It is said that it usually takes two weeks for the vaccine to be effective”.

“In general, we tend to get vaccinated against the flu at the end of the year”, evokes for his part Dr. Jérôme Maty. The flu epidemic should end within two weeks if the epidemic develops favorably, by March in the worst case.

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