What you need to know about France’s 2020 flu vaccination campaign

Always an important part of the medical calendar, the seasonal flu vaccine campaign has taken on a new importance this year. Here's what you need to know about getting vaccinated in France.

What you need to know about France's 2020 flu vaccination campaign
Photo: AFP

France has increased by 30 percent its order of flu jabs this year and is set to launch a major campaign to get people vaccinated with the aim of avoiding flooding hospitals with both flu and Covd-19 patients this winter.

So here's what you need to know.


The campaign officially starts on Tuesday, October 13th and runs until January 31st, although health authorities are advising people to get vaccinated early before the flu begins to circulate.


The following groups are strongly recommended to have the jab

  • Over 65s
  • People with chronic or long-term health conditions
  • People with a BMI of 40 or over
  • Pregnant women
  • People who live with those who cannot be vaccinated, including babies and those who are immunocompromised

Health workers and carers are also recommended to be vaccinated, although anyone who wants the jab can get it.


Doctors, nurses and midwives are all able to administer the vaccine and from 2019 it is also possible to get the jab in some pharmacies.

People identified as being in high risk groups will be contacted advising them to get the vaccine, they will be sent a voucher which can be taken to the pharmacy to exchange for a vaccine.

If you fall into one of the risk groups but have not been contacted, you can still make an appointment to get the vaccine. Children under the age of 18 will need a prescription from their doctor, but adults do not.

Pharmacies which have staff trained to administer the vaccine will have posters in their window advertising this service.

How much?

The vaccine itself is €6 and if you have it administered by a doctor or nurse you will need to pay for an appointment at the usual rate – usually €25 for a doctor's appointment. The vaccine is refunded 100 percent via your carte vitale and the cost of the appointment is refunded at 100 percent for people in the high risk groups where the jab is recommended. Those who are not in a high risk group will have their appointment cost refunded at the standard rate.

Which vaccine?

“For the first time, in addition to orders from pharmacies, we have secured state orders and we have 30 percent more vaccine doses than in previous years,” health minister Olivier Véran said in a speech to the French Senate.

“We must be extremely careful with the vaccination of vulnerable groups and caregivers.”

The vaccines Influvac Tetra and Vaxigrip Tetra are being offered in France this year.

France's government advice page states: “The vaccine is safe and has few, if any, side effects (most often mild and short-lasting local reactions, more rarely fever, muscle or joint pain, headache).

“It cannot give the flu because the viruses in the vaccine are not alive.”
French vocab
La grippe – flu
Le vaccin – vaccine
Les personnes fragiles – people in high-risk groups
Les effets secondaire – side effects 
Indice de masse corporelle (IMC) – Body mass index (BMI)



Member comments

  1. Either you are wrong re. “what you should know about the flu vaccine “, or my doctor’s office is wrong . I have just been told that when I receive my voucher for the vaccine I must take it to my doctor for it to be ‘stamped ‘- i.e. authorised – before I take it to the pharmacy. Which is correct ?

  2. I have been having the flu jab in France for seventeen years. Never have I had to have the voucher stamped. I take it to the pharmacy, receieve the vaccine, which I take to the cabinet medicale to have the injection from the nurse. I can also choose to have the injection from the pharmacist.

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Lengthy waiting times at Danish hospitals not going away yet: minister

Danish Minister for the Interior and Health Sophie Løhde has warned that, despite increasing activity at hospitals, it will be some time before current waiting lists are reduced.

Lengthy waiting times at Danish hospitals not going away yet: minister

The message comes as Løhde was set to meet with officials from regional health authorities on Wednesday to discuss the progress of an acute plan for the Danish health system, launched at the end of last year in an effort to reduce a backlog of waiting times which built up during the coronavirus crisis.

An agreement with regional health authorities on an “acute” spending plan to address the most serious challenges faced by the health services agreed in February, providing 2 billion kroner by the end of 2024.

READ ALSO: What exactly is wrong with the Danish health system?

The national organisation for the health authorities, Danske Regioner, said to newspaper Jyllands-Posten earlier this week that progress on clearing the waiting lists was ahead of schedule.

Some 245,300 operations were completed in the first quarter of this year, 10 percent more than in the same period in 2022 and over the agreed number.

Løhde said that the figures show measures from the acute plan are “beginning to work”.

“It’s positive but even though it suggests that the trend is going the right way, we’re far from our goal and it’s important to keep it up so that we get there,” she said.

“I certainly won’t be satisfied until waiting times are brought down,” she said.

“As long as we are in the process of doing postponed operations, we will unfortunately continue to see a further increase [in waiting times],” Løhde said.

“That’s why it’s crucial that we retain a high activity this year and in 2024,” she added.

Although the government set aside 2 billion kroner in total for the plan, the regional authorities expect the portion of that to be spent in 2023 to run out by the end of the summer. They have therefore asked for some of the 2024 spending to be brought forward.

Løhde is so far reluctant to meet that request according to Jyllands-Posten.