Today is the start of the new vaccination campaign against covid-19, brought forward by two weeks due to a peak in contamination. But is the vaccine still useful and who should benefit from it first? Answers from Dr Gérald Kierzek, medical director of TipsForWomens.
The virus is still circulating
The new covid vaccination campaign is officially launched today. Initially scheduled for October 17, the campaign was brought forward to October 2 to stem the current resumption of the epidemic. If tests are no longer systematic, the incidence rate of cases of Covid-19 presenting signs of respiratory problems and seen in general medicine consultations rose to 95 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the week of September 18 to 24 2023, thus generating 62,905 new cases in one week. “The virus is circulating, each of us can see cases around us. The epidemic is here”declared the Minister of Health Aurélien Rousseau.
Who can get vaccinated today?
Vaccination is officially open to all. “It is important to remember that vaccination remains possible and free for all people who wish it” rcalled the Minister of Health in mid-September.
“But the intention of this campaign remains to convince the most vulnerable people” confirms Dr Gérald Kierzek, medical director of TipsForWomens. The priority is to convince:
- Those over 65;
- The chronically ill ;
- Immunocompromised people;
- Dependent staff in nursing homes, and then nursing staff and people in contact with vulnerable people.
“Even if the variants appear less virulent to us, the most fragile people today still remain the most at risk, so we must protect them.” points out Dr. Kierzek.
What is the timing for getting vaccinated?
When can you get vaccinated? If the campaign starts today, it is however appropriate for everyone to wait six months since the last injection or the last infection (three months for the immunocompromised).
According to the urgent DGS press release intended for health professionals, “Vaccination schedules have been simplified for people aged 5 and over. Regardless of the patient’s vaccination history, the dosage now consists of a single dose of vaccine. The notions of primary vaccination and booster vaccination are therefore no longer relevant for these age categories”.
For children aged 6 months to 4 years, a complete two-dose vaccination schedule remains to be done if they have never encountered the virus or the vaccine.
What vaccines are available?
Certain vaccines have been adapted to the XXB.1.5 variant which is very widespread in Europe, following the recommendation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
- The monovalent Comirnaty omicron XBB.1.5 vaccine from Pfizer /BioNTech has been available in Europe since September;
- For its part, the Moderna laboratory only recently obtained authorization from the EMA for its new vaccine, but assures “be ready to supply it to Europe for the (…) autumn campaign”;
- For people who do not want or cannot benefit from mRNA vaccines, there is a booster, Sanofi’s VidPrevtyn Beta vaccine, but it is not suitable for XBB.1.5;
- The other solution is to wait for Novavax’s Nuvaxovid vaccine, adapted to XBB.1.5, but which will not be available before November.
Who can administer the vaccine?
To simplify the scope of the vaccine, many categories of healthcare workers are now authorized to administer the covid vaccine. So, you can now contact your doctor, but also a pharmacist, a nurse, a midwife and even a dentist.
Please note: all covid vaccines remain 100% covered by Health Insurance, for everyone.