The Minister of State, two members of the Prince’s Government, the Country Chief Digital Officer and the Secretary-General of the Government, have received their seasonal flu vaccinations, highlighting that the vaccination campaign is still underway and open to everyone.
With COVID-19 currently continuing to circulate at a high level, the Prince’s Government strongly recommends getting a flu vaccine. It is important to make every effort to limit as far as possible the compounding effects of the two viruses, which are circulating at the same time, and the seasonal flu vaccine is entirely compatible with the COVID-19 vaccine.
In practical terms, everyone who is resident in Monaco can obtain a vaccine at one of the Principality’s chemist’s. Patients can then choose to have the vaccine administered by the chemist, or by their normal doctor or a private nurse.
The health authorities’ goal is to encourage as many people as possible to get vaccinated. Consequently, this year the cost of the flu vaccine is being fully reimbursed for everyone who is covered by the Monegasque social security funds (State Medical Benefits Office (SPME), Sickness, Accident and Maternity Insurance for the Self-Employed (CAMTI) or Social Services Compensation Fund (CCSS)), whether or not they have a medical prescription.
Against the background of the coronavirus, there are many advantages to getting a flu vaccine:
• Flu vaccination makes it easier to treat patients presenting with a flu-like illness. Although they are caused by very different viruses, seasonal flu and COVID-19 produce identical symptoms: fever, cough, fatigue and muscle aches. Illness will be easier to diagnose if an infected person shows these symptoms but has been vaccinated against flu: healthcare staff will be able to identify potential COVID-19 more quickly.
• Flu vaccination eases the pressure on hospitals. Every year, patients suffering from flu visit the accident and emergency department, and some experience complications which require hospitalisation. Given the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, hospital resources must remain available to deal with serious cases of the disease.
• Flu vaccination reduces the number of school and workplace absences. When a person shows symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they must stay off school or work while waiting for the result of their PCR test in order to reduce the risk of spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Without a PCR test, it is clinically impossible to distinguish between flu and COVID-19. By eliminating flu, we can therefore reduce the number of school and work days lost.