Impact of European vaccination policies on seasonal influenza vaccination coverage rates: An update seven years later

Patricia R. Blank, Gerrit Adrianus van Essen, Raúl Ortiz de Lejarazu, Jan Kyncl, Aneta Nitsch-Osuch, Ernest Piotr Kuchar, Oana Falup-Pecurariu, Helena C. Maltezou, Dace Zavadska, Zuzana Kristufkova, George Kassianos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
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Seasonal influenza can have serious morbid consequences and can even result in death, particularly in at-risk populations, including healthcare professionals (HCPs), elderly and those living with a medical risk condition. Although in Europe recommendations exist for annual influenza vaccination in these populations in most countries, the vaccination coverage rate (VCR) is often well below the World Health Organization target of 75% coverage. In our previous survey in 2009 we showed that some elements of national vaccination policies, e.g. reminder systems, strong official recommendation, and easy access, seemed to contribute to achieving higher influenza VCRs among elderly. We repeated the survey in 2016, using the same methodology to assess changes in influenza VCRs among the elderly and in the impact of policy elements on these VCRs. In addition, we collected information about VCRs among HCPs, and those living with a medical risk condition. The median VCR in the 21 countries that had recommendations for influenza vaccination in the elderly was 35.3%, ranging from 1.1% in Estonia to 74.5% in Scotland. The average VCRs for HCPs and those living with medical risk conditions, available in 17 and 10 countries, respectively, were 28.3% (range 7% in Czech Republic to 59.1% in Portugal) and 32.2% (range from 20.0% in the Czech Republic and Hungary to 59.6% in Portugal), respectively. Fewer countries were able to provide data from HCP and those living with medical risk conditions. Since the initial survey during the 2007–2008 influenza season, VCRs have decreased in the elderly in the majority of countries, thus, achieving high VCRs in the elderly and the other target groups is still a major public health challenge in Europe. This could be addressed by the identification, assessment and sharing of best practice for influenza vaccination policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2706-2714
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018


  • Elderly
  • healthcare professionals
  • influenza
  • policy
  • Seasonal influenza vaccination
  • Vaccination coverage
  • Vaccination policies

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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