Seasonal influenza vaccines
Seasonal influenza is a vaccine-preventable disease and annual influenza vaccination is the most effective way to prevent influenza. ECDC continues to emphasise that all Europeans who are recommended to have the influenza vaccine should get vaccinated. Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of serious influenza complications: Individuals with specific chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, and children aged 6-59 months, the elderly and healthcare workers.
Seasonal influenza vaccination strategies
The immunity that is elicited by influenza vaccines is not as long lived as the immunity following natural influenza infection. This is especially so for individuals in the so-called risk groups, hence people have to be vaccinated annually.
Risk groups for severe influenza
The risk groups includes people who are more likely than others to develop severe disease if they should be infected, such as the elderly, pregnant women, young children and people with underlying health conditions.
Types of seasonal influenza vaccine
Injected trivalent inactivated influenza vaccines are most commonly used throughout the world. Influenza antigen preparation varies between manufacturers.
Yearly updates of influenza vaccines
An update of seasonal influenza vaccines is needed yearly, since influenza viruses constantly evolve.
Infographic: Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?
Every year flu is different, so every year you need an updated vaccine. Usually, a flu vaccination reduces the risk by 60%. In a bad year, the seasonal flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by only 20% to 30% in the overall population.
Immunity following influenza disease and administration of influenza vaccines
For infants the first encounter with influenza viruses commonly occurs in their first or second winter season. Subsequently, each individual acquires a number of influenza infections throughout life.
Timing of influenza vaccination
It takes 10 to 14 days following vaccination, before an immune response and protection develops. Therefore, most countries start immunisation in the early autumn.
Vaccine schedules for seasonal influenza in all countries of the European Union
The Vaccination Schedule is an interactive platform of vaccination schedules for individual European countries and specific age groups.
Influenza vaccination coverage
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.
Influenza vaccine effectiveness
To establish how well influenza vaccines work each season, influenza vaccine effectiveness is measured in observational studies.
Influenza vaccine safety
Risks of an adverse event following influenza vaccination are far less common than complications related to influenza itself, and the adverse events are generally localized and mild.
More about immunisation
Immunisation and vaccines
Vaccines represent one of the most effective and cost-saving public health intervention.Read more
Vaccine hesitancy refers to delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccination services. Vaccine hesitancy is complex and context specific varying across time, place and vaccines. It includes factors such as complacency, convenience and confidence.Read more