Vaccination against Seasonal Flu: The First Phase of the Campaign
This Thursday morning, three members of the Prince's Government were vaccinated against seasonal flu, marking the launch of the vaccination campaign.
While COVID-19 is still circulating very actively at this time, the Prince's Government strongly recommends vaccination. It is important to do everything possible to limit the combined effects of the two viruses, which could circulate at the same time.
To ensure that vaccination is as effective as possible in the particular context of the health crisis, priority will be given to the most vulnerable in terms of health. Specifically, health professionals who are authorised to carry out vaccinations will initially only do so for Monegasque patients or residents over 65 years of age who have a certificate issued by the social security funds, and for healthcare workers.
In practical terms, patients over 65 years of age will have received a voucher from the social security funds (SPME or CCSS) without having to apply. This voucher is valid for one vaccine per person, given free of charge in a pharmacy. The patient can then have the vaccine administered by the pharmacist, a GP or a private nurse.
The Prince's Government will shortly communicate the vaccination procedures for people in other categories.
The aim of the Monegasque health authorities is to encourage as many people as possible to be vaccinated. For this reason, this year, the flu vaccine will be fully reimbursed for anyone affiliated to the Monegasque social security system.
In this time of Coronavirus, being vaccinated against flu has many advantages:
• Vaccination against flu simplifies the management of patients with an influenza-like illness:
Seasonal flu and COVID, even if caused by very different viruses, cause identical symptoms: fever, cough, fatigue and aching muscles. Diagnosis is therefore easier if an infected person presents with these symptoms but has been vaccinated against flu – the health workers will be able to identify a possible case of COVID more quickly and offer appropriate treatment, either at home or in hospital.
• Vaccination against flu can help relieve the burden on health care facilities:
Every year, patients suffering from flu visit the emergency department and some present with complications that require hospitalisation. In the current COVID epidemic, hospital resources must be available to deal with severe cases of COVID.
• Vaccination against flu reduces the number of unnecessary PCRs:
Vaccination can also reduce the number of PCR tests undertaken to find out if a person is infected with the Coronavirus, when in fact they are infected with flu.
• Vaccination against flu reduces the number of absences from school and work:
When someone shows symptoms that suggest COVID, they are obliged to leave work or school while awaiting the PCR result, to reduce the risk of spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is clinically impossible (without PCR testing) to differentiate between influenza and COVID.
Eliminating the flu will reduce the number of days taken off work or school.