Review of the scientific literature on drivers and barriers of seasonal influenza vaccination coverage in the EU/EEA

systematic review
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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Review of scientific literature on drivers and barriers of seasonal influenza vaccination coverage in the EU/EEA. Stockholm: ECDC; 2013.

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The report aims to provide a critical review of evidence on the barriers and drivers of seasonal influenza vaccination coverage in the EU/EEA. The report focuses on high-risk groups where high coverage of seasonal flu vaccination is most important. The 2009 Council of the European Union Recommendation on seasonal influenza vaccination encourages countries to implement measures that would increase seasonal influenza vaccination uptake to at least 75% for defined older age groups, and, if possible, for other risk groups. In support of this, the ECDC report summarises the evidence on what are the barriers and what are the drivers for seasonal influenza vaccination by each risk group

Executive summary

The report aims to provide a critical review of evidence on the barriers and drivers of seasonal influenza vaccination coverage in the EU/EEA. The report focuses on high-risk groups where high coverage of seasonal flu vaccination is most important. The quality and breadth of evidence on interventions varies considerably for the different groups:

  • For the elderly population (65 year olds and older) and healthcare workers, there is published evidence on specific types of interventions to increase the uptake of seasonal flu vaccination.
  • For patients with chronic conditions, the evidence is scattered and not concentrated on any particular groups of chronically ill people, limiting the transferability of conclusions and application to this group as a whole.
  • For pregnant women and children, the evidence found was scarce and low permitting few conclusions.

The report tries to address the following key questions:

  • What are the current gaps in research on the drivers and barriers to increase seasonal flu vaccination coverage
  • Can we identify examples of good practice that increase vaccination uptake in all groups
  • How can the current low rates of healthcare workers’ influenza vaccination coverage be improved

Every winter, influenza epidemics cause significant morbidity and mortality throughout Europe. High-risk groups such as older people, individuals with chronic diseases, pregnant women and small children are most affected by these epidemics. Healthcare workers are also at high risk of getting influenza or transmitting it to patients. Seasonal vaccination against flu viruses reduces the burden of disease in these groups and is widely available in most EU/EEA countries.
The 2009 Council of the European Union Recommendation on seasonal influenza vaccination encourages countries to implement measures that would increase seasonal influenza vaccination uptake to at least 75% for defined older age groups, and, if possible, for other risk groups. In support of this, the new ECDC report summarises the evidence on what are the barriers and what are the drivers for seasonal influenza vaccination by each risk group.

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