Vaccination against Seasonal Flu: The Third Phase of the Campaign
Further to the first phase, which began on 15 October 2020, with priority given to vaccinating people over 65 years of age who reside in the Principality, followed by a second phase on 3 November involving all Monegasques and residents, the Prince's Government is once again extending the coverage of flu vaccination.
As of Monday 23 November, all employees who have social insurance with the Monaco Social Security Funds and the State Medical Benefits Office (SPME) and their dependents will be able to obtain flu vaccines from dispensing pharmacies throughout the Principality, with or without a medical prescription.
In practical terms, these vaccines are available from pharmacies in the Principality on presentation of a social security card. Patients can have the vaccine administered by the pharmacist, their general practitioner or a private nurse.
The cost of the vaccine will be fully reimbursed by the patient's social security fund.
The aim of the Monegasque health authorities is to encourage the greatest number of people to be vaccinated and thus do everything possible to limit the combined effects of the two viruses, as these two viruses could circulate at the same time.
In this time of Coronavirus, being vaccinated against flu has many advantages:
- vaccination against flu simplifies the management of patients presenting with a flu-like syndrome. Although seasonal flu and COVID are caused by very different viruses, they produce identical symptoms - fever, cough, fatigue and muscle aches. Diagnosis is therefore easier if an infected person presents with these symptoms but has been vaccinated against the flu. Medical staff 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 will help relieve the burden on healthcare institutions. Every year, flu patients visit the accident and emergency department and some present with complications that require hospitalisation. In an ongoing COVID epidemic, hospital resources must be available to deal with severe forms of COVID;
- vaccination against flu reduces the number of absences from work and school. When a person presents with symptoms that suggest COVID, they are required to stay at home while awaiting the result of the PCR test, 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 of absence from work or school.