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.
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.