COVID-19 has shown the importance of protecting those most at risk of serious complications from influenza and other respiratory diseases. However, even if the best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, today, immunisation coverage around the globe is far below where it should be.
This is the reason why our primary target is to encourage people at risk of flu complications to get vaccinated, thus avoiding further burden on the health care system, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our #TogetherAgainstFlu online campaign aims to keep raising awareness of the importance of flu vaccinations for healthcare workers, older adults and patients living with chronic conditions. We’re calling on health stakeholders, patient and advocacy organisations, opinion leaders and decision-makers to partner in sharing these campaign messages with their audiences. Our evidence-based messages aim to support their own advocacy for the prevention and control of seasonal influenza.
3 to 5 million cases of severe influenza worldwide each year
290,000 to 650,000 respiratory deaths every year linked to the flu
70 years of influenza prevention through vaccination
35% to 72% uptake of flu vaccines for those aged 65+ in G7 countries
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A common agenda
"It's critically important that we look at public health messaging, expanding vaccination pathways, looking at reimbursement for all, and making sure that those targeted populations know the risks, but also know the benefits of being vaccinated against the flu."
"The three things that we need most to increase uptake in low and middle-income countries: we need better data, we need better tools to educate decision makers, we need to develop the systems to get the vaccine to priority groups."
“The issue is that today, after the COVID-19 pandemic, nothing has changed. Health care workers are still not included in influenza programs that would contribute to flu vaccine uptake.”
“Incorporating a practice as simple as influenza vaccination can considerably reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with pre-existing CV disease and in high-risk groups.”
“While we start to understand more and more about the role of insulin, glucose variability and other characteristics of persons living with diabetes in the role of influenza and covid-19 Pathogenesis, vaccine coverage rates in this risk group is still below the target. We are in urgent need for a multidisciplinary translational approach to better understand why and how to protect these people.”
"Given the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unpredictability of the flu virus, flu vaccination could be more important than ever in the 2021/22 flu season. Population’s natural immunity is lower because of last year lockdowns and preventive measures that lowered the circulation of the virus. Also, we might see complacency/fatigue towards vaccination. It will be particularly important to drive home the importance of getting the annual flu shot."
"Many of us are concerned that we will have a severe influenza season unless we keep up our vaccination frequency."
“We haven’t seen this low level of flu activity any winter since towards the end of the 19th century. So, we do not know at this point what to expect BUT what we do know is...we may now be more susceptible to influenza viruses."