Covid-19 and flu: adverse effects, people at risk... should vaccines be combined?

Covid-19 and flu: adverse effects, people at risk… should vaccines be combined?

the essential
As the new vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 and seasonal flu begin together, some are reluctant to receive a double injection, fearing 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,” the General Directorate of Health recommended on September 28, following the recommendations of the High Health Authority (HAS). While winter diseases are resurgent and to avoid an epidemic in the pandemic, public authorities are betting on a combined vaccine against influenza and Covid-19, especially 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 vaccination campaign against seasonal flu, initially planned to accompany the one against Covid-19 starting in the middle of the month.

Despite encouragement from health authorities, the interested public is 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.

“local effects”

However, “adverse effects are only local effects,” says Bruno Lina, virologist and member of the new committee for monitoring and anticipating health risks (COVARS). “You can have a slightly swollen arm, pain at the injection site… But these discomforts are nothing compared to a flu or a Covid-19 infection, which, for the latter, can take you to intensive care.”

On the other hand, “in view of the amount of sera administered, tolerance to these vaccines is not at all in doubt. This co-vaccination was even carried out last year in several countries and did not cause any problems”, continues the doctor.

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Specifically, there is no serum that comprises both vaccines. If you wish to be vaccinated, you will need to see a specialist (doctor, nurse or pharmacist) to receive a dose in each arm.

At this point, Bruno Lina advises “not to wait until you have access to the 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 go and get 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 years of age, the chronically ill, pregnant women, people with obesity, people around babies or, in general, people immunosuppressed, as well as health professionals.

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The eighth wave of Covid-19, which began in September in France, continues to rise in infections 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,” the French public health agency summed up in a report released Thursday night. The flu epidemic is intensifying, with fears of a particularly strong episode as winter approaches.

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