Seasonal flu vaccinations are “significantly behind schedule” compared to last year, two major drug unions said on Monday, fearing a “particularly intense” epidemic this winter.
The trend is unfavorable: as of November 18, 32 days after the start of the flu vaccination campaign, just over 7 million doses were distributed, compared to 8.6 million last year at the same time. Or 18.3% less, according to data collected from 14,000 out of 20,000 French pharmacies and published by IQVIA.
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A “very significant delay” for the Uspo Pharmaceuticals Union, which is “alarming about falling vaccination coverage”, according to a press release, this fall is “particularly worrying”. “There was a bit of a disaster this year,” confirms Philippe Besse, president of the FSPF, the first trade union. Moreover, this reduction mainly concerns the “priority” audience (over 65 years old, chronically ill, pregnant women), for whom the injection was reserved until November 15th.
‘Significant communication campaign’ needed
Pointing to the “general vaccination fatigue even among those who need it”, Philippe Besse believes it will be “very difficult” to catch up on this “delay” without a “significant communication campaign”. But time is running out because “influenza indicators have started to light up in Brittany”, which entered the pre-epidemic phase in early November, Health Minister François Braun said on Sunday. on RTL, calling the nascent epidemic “contagious”.
Uspo, for its part, is reporting “higher flu activity” than in other years, suggesting a “premature and particularly intense epidemic” on the French mainland. However, François Braun assured that the health system can “support the emergence of influenza if everyone does their part (and) if the most vulnerable people are vaccinated.”