None of the European Union (EU) Member States could demonstrate that they reach the EU target of 75-per-cent influenza vaccination coverage for vulnerable groups, according to a report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Influenza vaccination coverage remains low in many countries, and leads to severe disease, hospitalisations and premature death. If no improvements in the vaccine uptake are seen, ‘significant burden on the healthcare systems can be expected also during this upcoming winter season’, said the ECDC.
“The results of this survey have shown that achieving high vaccination coverage rates for those particularly at risk of developing severe complications remains a serious public health challenge,” commented Pasi Penttinen, ECDC Head of Influenza Disease Programme. “The best way to prevent or minimise severe disease from influenza among vulnerable groups is timely vaccination, even though the effectiveness of the vaccine varies depending on the virus in circulation. Sufficient vaccination coverage also saves healthcare systems money in decreased consultation rates and hospitalisations.”