Influenza: As cases rise in Southern France, the national health authority recommends flu jabs for children

flu jabs for children

Influenza is raging in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and authorities are urging the use of flu jabs for children aged two to 17 to help reduce spread. 

The flu is back with a vengeance this year, and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region is in the top most affected areas in France. The latest figures put out on 8th February by Public Health France show an incidence rate of 156 per 100,000 people nationally, a 38% rise over the previous week. Hospital admissions are up too, with 4,604 patients arriving at emergency rooms over the course of a week: a 40% rise. Two to-five-year-olds are the age group most affected this season, accounting for 23% of emergency room visits. 

Locally, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, Public Health France has declared a flu epidemic, spurring the French High Authority for Health (HAS) to recommend the use of flu jabs for children aged two to 17 without comorbidities via one of the five vaccines available or, the preferred method, a dose administered by nasal spray. The jab will be reimbursed, so no financial burden will be incurred by parents. 

Studies have shown that children have tolerated the jabs well and their efficacy sits at around 78% for live attenuated vaccines and 64% for inactivated vaccines.  

Data for the flu vaccines given to children in France, namely Fluarix Tetra, Vaxigrip Tetra, Influvac Tetra, Flucelvax and Fluenz Tetra, have European and global data confirming the safety of these vaccines in children. Fluenz Tetra intranasal vaccine is also recommended for safety as well as ease of use.  

With this mandate, France joins several other countries battling the flu who have been immunising their children, such as the UK, Spain and Austria.  


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Photo source: Kelly Sikkema for Unsplash