Influenza is a vaccine preventable disease and influenza vaccines have been available for use in Europe since the 1960s.
A number of variants of the influenza viruses co-circulate each year. Immunity to the infecting influenza virus type develops following a natural influenza infection. However, there is little cross-immunity between influenza types/subtypes or lineages. This is why several influenza strains must be included into combination vaccines.
Currently most influenza vaccines contain three different influenza strains (trivalent): two influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2 subtypes) and one influenza B (Victoria or Yamagata lineages).
Starting from the influenza season 2014–15 new quadrivalent combination vaccines containing four different influenza strains are gradually becoming available in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA). These vaccines contain two influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2 subtypes) and two influenza B (Victoria and Yamagata lineages) strains.
A yearly survey is conducted on seasonal influenza immunisation policies and vaccination coverage rates. To accompany the report on the 2012–13 influenza season
, country profiles detailing vaccination policies, data collection methods and vaccination coverage were also produced.
Read more about seasonal influenza vaccines