• According to figures from the Order of Pharmacists, 5.6 million vaccines have been withdrawn in pharmacies by priority people.

    At the same time last year this figure climbed to 6.7 million doses.

  • This gap can be explained by the fact that last year, many people received a dose of influenza vaccine for lack of treatment against the Covid which was once again hitting France with full force.

  • Some eligible people may also have chosen to postpone their vaccination based on their Coronavirus vaccination booster.

This Monday marks the opening to all French people of the seasonal flu vaccine campaign.

One month after its launch for fragile people, those over 65 and pregnant women, the time has come for the first assessment.

And this one looks mixed compared to last year.

According to figures from the Order of Pharmacists published by Franceinfo, 5.6 million vaccines have been withdrawn in pharmacies by priority people.

At the same time last year this figure climbed to 6.7 million doses.

How to explain such a fall in the space of just one year?

2020: An exceptional year

If the figures appear low this year, it is because they are compared to last year, which was "exceptional", underlines Michaël Rochoy, general practitioner and co-founder of the collective "On the side of science". "The vaccine has been a victim of its success in an unusual way," he says, adding that there were even shortages last year. A problem that should not arise this year, even if no state stock is expected. "The State has secured additional doses, which can be ordered directly by dispensing pharmacists," assures the Order of Pharmacists in a press release.

A stock problem, which did not arise in 2019, where at this same period, only five million priority people had withdrawn their flu vaccine in pharmacies, still according to figures from the Order of Pharmacists.

It is therefore 600,000 less than this year.

The fear of the Coronavirus: a driving force

What changes between these three years and seems to influence the success of the seasonal flu vaccine campaigns is the coronavirus epidemic. In October 2019, it did not exist in France. In October 2020, the country was hit hard by a second wave of contamination and was reconfiguring itself. “At that time, there was no vaccine against Covid-19, nor effective treatment. People were therefore also going to be vaccinated to avoid other diseases caused by a viral infection ”, analyzes Michaël Rochoy. Indeed, French hospitals were already inundated with Covid-19 patients with severe forms. Going there for a severe form of the flu was not really recommended.

This year, France has a vaccine against the coronavirus and can boast of a wide vaccination coverage.

So much so that despite the increase in cases, the government is confident about the fifth wave.

“This year like the others without a coronavirus pandemic, people tend to have the flu vaccine only if it motivates them,” argues Michaël Rochoy.

However, the doctor recalls that catching both diseases by bad luck at the same time increases the risk of complications.

A story of timing

If the number of priority people having withdrawn their vaccine in pharmacies is for the moment much lower than last year, nothing says that the vaccination campaign will not catch up thereafter. It is indeed possible that some have postponed their vaccination. "Either because they recently received a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and they want to space it out, or because on the contrary, they want to do both at the same time, but their last dose vaccine against the coronavirus is less than six months old, ”hypothesizes Michaël Rochoy.

In an opinion issued on August 23, the High Authority for Health (HAS) approved "the co-administration of vaccines against influenza and against the coronavirus".

If the HAS feared at that time that this double injection would cause a decrease in the immune response on one or the other of the vaccines, “the recent results of a trial reported by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization are reassuring on this point ”.

At the end of September, it therefore confirmed that it did not involve "any danger".

The injections can therefore be done at the same time (each on a different arm), without delay.


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  • Covid 19

  • Anti-covid vaccine

  • Coronavirus

  • Flu

  • Vaccine

  • Vaccination

  • Health

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