As the new vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 and seasonal flu begin jointly, some are reluctant to receive a double injection, for fear of too virulent side effects. What is it really and what is the interest of a “co-vaccination”? La Dépêche takes stock.
“Co-vaccination against Covid-19 and against the flu must be encouraged”, recommended the Directorate General of Health on September 28, following the recommendations of the High Authority for Health (HAS). While winter diseases are making a comeback and in order to avoid an epidemic in the pandemic, the public authorities are indeed betting on a combined flu and Covid-19 vaccination, particularly recommended for the most fragile people.
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In this context, the government has brought forward to Tuesday, October 18 the start of the seasonal flu vaccination campaign, initially planned to accompany that against Covid-19 from the middle of the month.
Despite the encouragement of the health authorities, the public concerned are reluctant. According to a survey by Public Health France, only one in two people at risk is considering receiving both vaccines. In question: the fear of suffering too virulent adverse effects.
However, “adverse effects are only local effects”, reassures Bruno Lina, virologist and member of the new committee for monitoring and anticipating health risks (COVARS). “You may have a slightly swollen arm, pain at the injection site… But these discomforts are nothing compared to a flu or Covid-19 infection which, for the second, can take you until intensive care”.
On the other hand, “in view of the number of serums administered, tolerance to these vaccines is absolutely not in question. This co-vaccination even took place last year in various countries and did not lead to any problems”, continues the doctor.
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Concretely, there is no serum comprising the two vaccines. If you wish to be vaccinated, you will need to go to a specialist (doctor, nurse or pharmacist) to receive a dose in each arm.
On this point, Bruno Lina advises “not to wait to have access to Covid and flu doses at the same time to go get vaccinated”. “In view of the too many people who have not yet received their booster dose, it is better not to wait, and to go now to be vaccinated against one or the other”, analyzes the virologist .
Populations at risk
As a reminder, populations at risk are affected by double vaccination, such as people over 65, the chronically ill, pregnant women, people with obesity, those around infants or more generally immunocompromised people as well as health professionals.
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The 8th wave of Covid-19, which began in September in France, continues to rise in terms of contamination and hospitalizations, according to the weekly report from the health authorities. Last week, the circulation of the virus progressed “strongly throughout the metropolitan territory, in particular among the oldest”, summarized the public health agency France in a report given Thursday evening. The flu epidemic is intensifying, with the fear of a particularly strong episode as winter approaches.