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Influenza vaccine: who are the priority people?

As the flu vaccination campaign 2020 begins next month, more and more voices are calling on the French to be massively vaccinated against seasonal flu.

However, the health authorities still recommend prioritizing certain very specific population categories. Why and which?

First of all, as the High Authority of Health (HAS) explains on its website, in an opinion of 20 May and still relevant, even though the country is facing coronavirus, the seasonal flu vaccination campaign will still be carried out in France, according to the original recommendations in 2020 vaccination calendar, ie. in mid-October for metropolitan France, due to delays in vaccine production.

And if the exact start date for the 2020 flu vaccine campaign is not yet known, it should be about the same as last year when it started on October 1

5, 2019. The exact deadline for 2020 should be communicated anyway during the first week of October.

Firstly, fragile substances and healthcare professionals

Once again this year, the vaccination strategy should be to prioritize risk groups.

Specifically, people over the age of 65, sick people with chronic pathologies – especially those with a weakened immune system – should soon receive a letter at home urging them to be vaccinated against influenza.

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the High Authority of Health (HAS) also recommends “that subjects identified as possible contacts in a case of Covid-19 and eligible for influenza vaccination, see their vaccination postponed until the end of the recommended isolation period in lack of symptoms ”.

Criteria that may change

That said, given the Covid-19 pandemic and to prevent this epidemic from overlapping the winter flu and straining hospitals, there is no exclusion that these population criteria could change.

That is at least what several doctors are asking, but also 75 MPs from the majority who on Sunday 20 September published a special column in the JDD and called on the health authorities to get the French vaccinated “massively” against influenza.

Contacted by CNEWS, Dr. Jean-Christophe Calmes, vice president of the trade union MG France (the first association of general practitioners in France) unreservedly joins this conversation and criticizes in the process the “absurd” rumors about antivaccinas, passed on especially on social networks. Therefore, he says, “it is neither more nor less than the health of the French that is at stake.”

In this context, the lines could therefore move and the Scientific Council, led by Professor Jean-François Delfraissy and responsible for guiding the decisions of the CEO in the crisis, could very well formulate in early October recommendations aimed at reviewing the criteria. for the influenza vaccine strategy. In particular, the age criterion could be lowered.

The authorities know very well that, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the very high demand from the French will probably be stronger for flu vaccines this year.

Health Minister Olivier Véran has also recently ordered a stockpile of 13 million doses of flu vaccines, much more than in previous years, JDD revealed. It remains to be seen whether this quantity will be sufficient in relation to a demand that is likely to be strong.

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