Circulation of Covid-19 is increasing. Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau chose to bring forward the vaccination campaign by two weeks, to October 2. Vaccination for the most vulnerable was initially to be carried out at the same time as that of the flu, from October 17, but the minister will follow the advice of the Committee for Monitoring and Anticipation of Health Risks (Covars) which recommends “access to booster vaccinations as soon as possible.”
“Faced with uncertainties about the evolution of the circulation of the virus, I contacted Covars on September 8 to ask them whether it was necessary to accelerate the opening of the vaccination campaign against Covid,” detailed the minister to the 'AFP. “I have just received Professor Brigitte Autran (its president, Editor’s note) who gave me the opinion of September 15 recommending opening vaccination more quickly to vulnerable people more directly exposed to the virus,” he said. for follow-up.
This decision follows a “simple observation: the Covid epidemic is here”. In France, the virus surveillance system has been considerably simplified and is currently close to that of the flu. In this context, it is difficult to closely monitor the circulation of the virus.
“We think that the incidence has increased by around thirty percent since last week, this must be taken with great caution but the virus is circulating, each of us can see cases around us,” noted Aurélien Rousseau. Vaccination will mainly target those over 65, frail people, those with co-morbidities, pregnant women, nursing home residents and people living in contact with frail people.
It will initially use the new Pfizer vaccine, adapted to the current majority circulating variant, XBB.1.5. Some 2.5 million doses are currently available, the minister told AFP, specifying that in total we would have “13.5 million doses” by November.
England announced at the end of August that it was bringing forward its Covid vaccination campaign to September 11. “This is not to sound the alarm, but as the epidemic is here we are highlighting vaccines which are effective for the most vulnerable people”, underlined Aurélien Rousseau, also insisting on the necessary continuation of actions barriers (such as hand washing and wearing a mask).