Do healthy people need to get vaccinated?

Anyone can contract influenza and being healthy does not protect against infection. For those at high risk of developing complications from influenza, infection can result in a deterioration of the chronic condition, hospitalisation or even death. Risk groups commonly include elderly persons (age 65 and above), persons with long-term medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, or heart […]

H1N1 vaccines

How safe are H1N1 vaccines? A wide range of measures are in place to monitor and review the safety of H1N1 pandemic vaccines, including (pre-)clinical testing, regulatory assessment, and wide-scale monitoring. This builds on the extensive safety record established with seasonal influenza vaccines over the last 60 years in a wide range of age and […]

Vaccination coverage rates

As vaccines are a safe and effective way to prevent serious illness and death, especially in the at-risk groups, the World Health Organization (WHO) set clear vaccination coverage rate objectives for the elderly: 75% of those above 65 should be vaccinated annually by 2010. Despite the fact that most developed countries have very similar guidelines […]

Who should be vaccinated annually

Anyone anywhere can catch influenza and the influenza vaccine can be administered to any person aged 6 months or older to reduce the chance of getting influenza, or to reduce the severity and consequences of the disease. Yet, national and international health authorities worldwide recommend that the influenza vaccine be given to protect people who […]

How effective they are

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent influenza. Effectiveness of the vaccination varies with the age and immune status of the vaccinated person, the (sub)type of the virus, the degree of similarity between the vaccine and the circulating virus strains, and the length of time from vaccination to exposure to influenza virus. It is […]

Medical intervention options

Medicinal interventions for influenza consist of two major approaches: the use of vaccines and antiviral drugs. Vaccines. The most cost-effective way to combat influenza is vaccination. Vaccines induce a specific immune response in the body by exposing it to an inactivated or weakened virus, or its relevant components. Influenza vaccines work best in healthy individuals […]


Antibiotics cannot be used to treat an influenza virus infection. Antibiotics kill or inhibit bacteria and should only be used to treat bacterial infections. Viral infections, like influenza, require a different treatment. Still, antibiotics can be useful during the flu season. In fact, influenza virus infection causes destruction of cells of the respiratory tract, resulting […]

Economic impact

Seasonal influenza places a heavy demand on healthcare resources and the economy each year, as a direct result of increased primary care consultations, hospitalizations, clinical complications and patient treatment. In addition to direct medical costs, the most significant cost of influenza to society is the indirect cost of lost productivity and absenteeism. In Europe, influenza […]

Social and societal impact

Besides the suffering of individual patients caused by seasonal influenza, which also has an impact on society as a whole, several other negative effects on society and its functioning may take place. Adults missing working days due to influenza represent a considerable proportion of the burden of influenza. In addition, children and elderly patients may […]