The Evolving History of Influenza Viruses and Influenza Vaccines

Claude Hannoun


Expert Rev Vaccines. 2013;12(9):1085-1094. 

In This Article

Recommendations for Vaccination of Specific Subjects

Influenza prevention policies aim to reduce the incidence of serious disease, complications and death among those with the most risk of severe influenza disease.[102] In about 50 countries, mainly industrialized, but also some countries undergoing rapid economic growth, influenza vaccination is offered to at-risk groups (sometimes at no cost); these risk groups are defined nationally, but often include the elderly, patients with cardiovascular, metabolic or renal disorders and immunosuppressed subjects.

National policies for the use of these vaccines vary from country to country, from weak recommendations for vaccination to strong recommendations for specific targeted groups and even to universal recommendation for the whole population, as for example, in the USA and in Ontario, Canada.[42 103]

In April 2012, the WHO SAGE (Strategic Advisory Group of Experts) issued recommendations for influenza vaccination for a series of groups, with the following priorities:[102]

  • Pregnant women, as a top priority;

  • Health care professionals;

  • Children aged between 6 and 59 months;

  • Elderly, aged over 60, 65 or 70 years, depending on the country;

  • Subjects of any age with risk factors.

Finally, decisions about national recommendations and their enforcement are always left to national health authorities and there is still, even within the European Union, heterogeneity in the recommendations in different Member States.