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 […]


Adjuvants are substances that can be added to human vaccines. They stimulate the immune system and increase the response to a vaccine, without having a specific antigenic effect themselves. The advantages, certainly in a pandemic situation, are obvious: they improve the immune response whilst the dose size (the amount of virus material or antigen in […]

A pandemic influenza vaccine

To prepare the world for the next influenza pandemic, the WHO has advised national governments to develop pandemic preparedness plans. The production, distribution and administration of a pandemic influenza vaccine play a major role in such plans. Pandemic influenza vaccines would reduce spreading of the virus and the burden of disease in the population, like […]

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 […]

When should the vaccine be given

in the Northern Hemisphere, the best time to be vaccinated is from mid-October to mid-November. This will ensure protection before the beginning and throughout the duration of the annual epidemic circulation of influenza viruses, which usually occurs from November to April. In the Southern Hemisphere, the best time to be vaccinated is from mid-March to […]

Drivers for vaccination

The level of vaccination coverage is the result of the interplay of many factors: the commitment, motivation and organization of healthcare workers, policy decisions at the level of the healthcare system and the awareness of patients themselves. Nonetheless, the role of the healthcare worker is crucial. It was recently shown that when a doctor or […]

Role of family doctors

As a patient’s first point of contact and medical adviser, healthcare workers play a crucial part in the fight against influenza. As a matter of fact, when asked why they take the annual influenza vaccine, a majority (over 60%) of high-risk patients answers: ‘Because my doctor or nurse recommends it’. Indeed, family doctors are in […]