E-learning course: Influenza vaccination campaigns targeting healthcare workers

E-learning course
1 Jan 2018 - 31 Dec 2019

This online course aims to support the EU/EEA Member States in their planning of annual seasonal influenza vaccination campaigns targeting healthcare workers.

Outline of the course

  • Lesson 1 - Influenza disease: presents how influenza can be a mild disease in some cases and a very severe disease in others.
  • Lesson 2 - Protection against influenza: describes why vaccination provides the best protection against influenza.
  • Lesson 3 - Assessing vaccination policy, practices and uptake: describes how to identify available vaccination policy and analyse vaccination practices, uptake and possible barriers/motivators to vaccination in the health care setting.
  • Lesson 4 - Planning vaccination campaigns: describes how to organize a vaccination campaign; procure vaccine, make vaccination available to staff, monitor who is vaccinated.
  • Lesson 5 - Designing vaccination campaigns: presents options for influencing a change in vaccination uptake.
  • Lesson 6 - Lessons learned and next steps: presents a model to monitor the on-going campaign, assess the outcome and adjust the next campaign.

How to enrol

The e-learning course is open to the general public and is available on the ECDC Virtual Academy. To enrol to the course you have to first create an account on the ECDC Virtual Academy.

Watch a video with more information about the course

Why is it important to vaccinate healthcare workers?

Annual influenza vaccination among healthcare workers (HCWs) is important since higher vaccination levels among HCWs can reduce influenza related illness, and even deaths.

No one is at greater risk of contracting contagious diseases or of spreading them than HCWs.

  • They are in contact with high number of patients and therefore have a higher risk of contracting influenza compared with adults working in non-health care settings. 
  • They can spread influenza to patients even if they don’t have any evident symptoms, as influenza can be mild or asymptomatic.
  • Unimmunised HCWs put patients at risk. Influenza may be particularly serious for patients at higher risk of developing influenza-related complications. Vaccination should not be a personal preference but a commitment to the safety of the patients (1).

HCWs also play an important role in prompting a change in the behaviour of the patients since they are seen as a role model or mentor (2).

  • They are considered to be the most trusted source of vaccine-related information for patients.
  • They advise and deliver influenza vaccination and are in the best position to understand hesitant patients, to respond to their worries and concerns, and to find ways of explaining to them the benefits of vaccination (3).


  1. Leaflet for healthcare workers on seasonal influenza
  2. Meeting report: Understanding the behavioural aspects and the role of health communication in mitigating the impact of seasonal influenza
  3. Vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers and their patients in Europe

More about influenza vaccination

Influenza vaccination coverage rates in the EU/EEAArchived

ECDC is collecting, sharing and disseminating information on national vaccination programmes and provides guidance for improving the overall performance of the vaccination systems in EU/EEA Member States. The latest data on vaccination coverage by country in the EU/EEA of different risk- and target groups are available in the reports listed on this page.

Public health guidance: Seasonal influenza vaccination of children and pregnant women

The aim of this guidance document is to provide EU/EEA Member States and EU bodies with relevant information to make an informed decision on routine vaccination of healthy children and pregnant women with seasonal influenza vaccine. The options presented in this document are based on a systematic review of the literature and the opinions of a group of independent experts.

Review of the scientific literature on drivers and barriers of seasonal influenza vaccination coverage in the EU/EEA

The report aims to provide a critical review of evidence on the barriers and drivers of seasonal influenza vaccination coverage in the EU/EEA. The report focuses on high-risk groups where high coverage of seasonal flu vaccination is most important. The 2009 Council of the European Union Recommendation on seasonal influenza vaccination encourages countries to implement measures that would increase seasonal influenza vaccination uptake to at least 75% for defined older age groups, and, if possible, for other risk groups. In support of this, the ECDC report summarises the evidence on what are the barriers and what are the drivers for seasonal influenza vaccination by each risk group

More about communication on immunisation

Communication toolkit on immunisation: How to increase immunisation uptake

This ECDC communication toolkit aims to support EU/EEA countries in their communication initiatives to increase immunisation uptake, in particular childhood vaccination. It provides template materials that health authorities can adapt to develop their own communication initiatives, in line with national, regional or local strategies and needs.