How they work

When a person is exposed to an influenza virus, the innate and subsequently the adaptive or specific immune response kicks in and provides defence against the invading virus. Depending on the nature of the virus and the effectiveness of the immune response, the infected individual suffers from more or less severe consequences of the influenza […]

Why is vaccination against flu necessary?

Influenza (the flu) is a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening disease. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent the flu, and vaccination is the main tool used to protect people from influenza. The flu vaccine is easily administered […]


Classical vaccines against different highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses for use in domestic poultry and other birds have been developed successfully. These are adjuvanted vaccines that provide adequate and broad protection against disease caused by HPAI virus strains. Vaccination of poultry and other domestic or zoo birds may also prevent or reduce human exposure to […]

What can healthcare workers do?

Get vaccinated! Influenza vaccination is the best way to reduce chances of getting ill from influenza and from giving influenza to patients, co-workers and family. Indications are that vaccination against seasonal influenza at least partially protects against possible pandemic influenza strains. Also consider this: if one third of the population receives its annual shot with […]

Pandemic preparedness planning

Detailed planning is essential to ensure a coordinated response to an influenza pandemic, both at the national and international levels. Should schools be closed to prevent influenza from spreading? What about hospital capacity in case of a severe pandemic? How can we track the pandemic virus as it spreads? How and to whom will the […]

Vaccination during a pandemic

Since it is impossible to vaccinate the entire world population against a pandemic influenza virus when a pandemic emerges, it is necessary to determine which groups must be immunized with priority. After all, effective allocation of vaccines will play a critical role in slowing down the spread of the influenza pandemic and reducing its effects […]

When to use flu antivirals

Antiviral drugs for influenza are an important adjunct to influenza vaccine for the treatment and prevention of influenza. However, they are not a substitute for vaccination. Treatment Treatment with neuraminidase inhibitors (NI) such as oseltamivir and zanamivir is extremely variable between countries and is usually restricted to the very ill. Treatment with NI should only […]

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 […]

Barriers for vaccination

Myths and misconceptions about influenza and influenza vaccination are major barriers to better protection of healthy and high-risk persons. Some common examples are: ‘The flu is just a common cold!’ ‘I had the flu last year, so I cannot get it this year.’ ‘You can get the flu from a flu shot.’ ‘Flu shots offer […]