Sanofi Pasteur’s new vaccine 4 times more dosed, authorized for people over 65

If you are over 65, you may be interested in Sanofi Pasteur’s new influenza vaccine containing 4 times more antigens than normal serum. Judged to be more effective, it is authorized in France for the first time this year. Double vaccination against influenza / Covid booster is also recommended.

In Occitania, the epidemic dynamic of Covid-19 seems contained, unlike some European countries. But caution is in order: the reproduction rate (number of people infected by a single carrier of the virus) has risen back to above 1. In one week, some of our departments have also crossed the alert threshold in terms of rate. incidence (number of positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants). This is the case of Aude (+ 40% in 7 days), Aveyron and Tarn.

Flu and Covid, same symptoms

In this context, the prospect of a resumption of the influenza epidemic worries the health authorities, like Professor Jacques Reynes, head of the infectious diseases department of the Montpellier University Hospital.

We do not have a lot of data to support the hypothesis of simultaneous influenza / Covid infections, but it can happen and we know that the two infections each tire the body a lot. We must therefore guard against it. Often it is the same clinical picture of fever and cough, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish influenza from Covid. Testing patients for both pathologies will complicate the work of medical teams, especially in emergencies. So your best bet is to reduce your risk by getting vaccinated.

Professor Jacques Reynes, head of the infectious diseases department at the Montpellier University Hospital

A vaccine 4 times more dosed and 15 to 20% more effective

The over 65s are the priority target of the vaccination campaign which begins, because from this age, the immune response decreases. To make vaccination more effective, France authorized for the first time this year the new vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur says “highly dosed quadrivalent“, already administered in the USA and Canada last winter. The dose of antigens contained in this serum has been multiplied by 4 and studies have shown an efficiency of 15 to 20% higher.

Vaccination coverage rate during the 2019-2020 campaign among vulnerable people in Occitania.

Vaccination coverage rate during the 2019-2020 campaign among vulnerable people in Occitania.

© ARS Occitanie – CPAM

Inventories 17% higher than last year

Warning: this vaccine may be less well tolerated because of this higher dosage and its cost (around 31 euros) is double that of a classic flu serum, even if it is fully reimbursed. For the moment, the pharmacies have not received it and only the wholesalers distributors have started to build up their stocks.
Don’t panic: there are still other possible vaccination options, since 3 types of influenza vaccines are on the market this year and stocks of these are 17% higher than last year.

Declining immunity

If the flu was not very present last winter thanks to the barrier measures (which proves their effectiveness according to Jacques Reynes), this vigilance is now on the decline. For some patients, less immune due to this poor circulation last year, the risk is therefore increased in 2021. Especially since the arrival of cold encourages people to live more indoors, which is conducive to the circulation of viruses. between several people.

Double vaccination to facilitate the anti-Covid booster

For Professor Jacques Reynes, the need for a double vaccination for the most vulnerable groups (elderly, pregnant or suffering from a long-term illness) is essential and the period is favorable:

In a particular epidemiological context, double vaccination makes sense: here we are at a major period when the need for a 3rd Covid injection arrives because after 6 months, the level of antibodies drops. It is essential to take the opportunity to do a double Covid / flu vaccination. There is no contraindication. The only difference is that we give an injection in each of the 2 shoulders.

Professor Jacques Reynes, head of the infectious diseases department at the Montpellier University Hospital

The 3rd anti-Covid dose struggles to win in Occitania

And there is still work to be done: out of nearly one million inhabitants over 65 in Occitania, only 210,000 have already had their anti-Covid vaccine booster. There is therefore a shortage of 700,000 to revaccinate, not counting frail people, those with comorbid factors and patients vaccinated with Janssen’s serum who have not yet performed their booster with the messenger RNA vaccine from Pfizer laboratories.
More worrying: in our region, 13% of people over 80 are still not vaccinated at all against Covid.

Do not multiply the risks

Regarding influenza, only 37 to 38% of policyholders with long-term illnesses are vaccinated against influenza when they are fragile and have chronic pathologies. Health Insurance particularly calls on pregnant women and obese patients to make themselves known and to be vaccinated with their local health professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists or midwives).

Jean-Michel Bruel, spokesperson for the associations of users of Occitanie, hammered home this message: “users must do everything to ensure that the risks associated with influenza do not add to those of Covid-19. We must do everything for that and let it be known“.

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