A guide to getting vaccinated

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When the Minister of Health Olivier Véran announced the start of the flu vaccination season this week, he underlined its increased importance for “vulnerable people” and caregivers, so as not to overload hospitals with the Covid-19 epidemic.This follows a call by 75 MPs for the seasonal flu vaccine to be widely administered this year, not just to the most vulnerable.

In France, the flu vaccine is reimbursed at 100% for people over 65 and people at risk. It is available to everyone, but they have to pay a certain amount.

Who can be vaccinated for free?

  • People aged 65 and over
  • People suffering from certain chronic diseases (asthma, diabetes, etc. the full list can be found here, in French).
  • Pregnant women
  • People suffering from obesity (body mass index over 40)
  • People in regular contact with children under 6 months
  • Immunocompromised people
  • Caregivers or people in regular contact with people at risk of severe flu
  • Health care workers

How it works

If you fall into one of these categories, you will likely receive a vaccination voucher in the mail from the National Health Insurance Fund. Health Insurance.

If you do not receive this voucher but fall into one of these categories, you can go to your doctor or a pharmacy to get the voucher.

This allows you to get a free dose of the vaccine (which can be collected at a pharmacy).

You can have the dose administered by your doctor; a midwife (for pregnant women and those around the newborn); a nurse, and / or for adults by some trained pharmacists.

From last year it is now possible in some pharmacies with staff trained to kick things off.

Is it totally free?

If you belong to any of the above categories, you can get the vaccination dose for free. Then you have to get it administered.

The reimbursement of the influenza vaccine is the same as for a regular consultation with a doctor, i.e. 70% of the basic rate of social security (25 €), the remaining 30% being covered by a complementary health insurance (such as a mutual), if you have one.

If the vaccine is administered by a midwife, the reimbursement will also be 70%. However, if it is carried out by a nurse (6.30 €), the reimbursement will be 60%.

Complementary health insurance should also cover the cost of vaccination administered directly at the pharmacy, at the same rate for nurses, for eligible persons.

What if you don’t fall into one of the priority categories?

You can still get the flu shot, but you’ll have to pay.

In most pharmacies, the purchase of the dose will cost between 6 and 10 €. You must then have it administered. If you are not a priority person, it will not be administered directly at the pharmacy. You must take the dose by a doctor, nurse or midwife.

There, the same rules apply as for a normal consultation (described above).

Following the letter from 75 deputies, this could change. However, there has been no update so far.

How many people are vaccinated against the flu in France?

Health advisory body to the government High Authority of Health says the flu shot is too low.

He said: “Despite annual vaccination campaigns, vaccination coverage (of people at risk) remains insufficient, well below the 75% target set by the World Health Organization.

“For the 2019-2020 season, only 45% of these people were vaccinated, including just over half of those over 65 (52%), and less than a third of those under 65 suffering from long-term illness (31%). ”

Are there enough doses of vaccination for everyone?

They say there are enough of them this year. Global flu vaccine manufacturers have produced a record number of doses for the 2020-2021 season, with authorities hoping to relieve hospitals of flu patients as the Covid-19 pandemic rebounds.

In France, Véran said Monday, September 21, that 30% more doses of the seasonal flu vaccine have been ordered.

How deadly is seasonal flu?

The World Health Organization says seasonal flu is responsible for 290,000 to 650,000 deaths per year worldwide. In France, for the 2018-2019 season, he killed 8,100 people.

The mortality rate (the number of deaths in relation to the infected population) from seasonal influenza is between 0.2 and 0.5%, specifies Public Health France.

Learn more about flu shots:

French MPs call for mass flu vaccination this winter

The flu epidemic has killed 22 in France, warns the agency

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