The sustainability of influenza vaccination program: considerations and perspectives from Italy.


Vaccine sustainability


Influenza represents an annual recurring threat to society, both from clinical and economic point of view. The impact of influenza is often underestimated, especially among frail elderly people who are at increased risk for serious complications, including hospitalization and death. In Italy there are around 10 million individuals 65 years and older who are at risk of contracting influenza and it is possible to estimate that the absence of a vaccination strategy would lead to more than 2 million cases and about 30,000 deaths. However, the uptake of routinely recommended adult immunizations remains suboptimal despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines. A monitoring programme from the National Institute of Health in Italy has shown that influenza vaccination coverage in the elderly dropped to 49% in the 2014-2015 season, which is far less than maximum values (68%) detected in the 2005-2006 season.  The current situation in Italy imposes a need for a new sustainability, which would be able to meet the challenges related to the evolution of epidemiological situation, demographic transition and great social transformations. Our review sums up the key elements of influenza vaccine sustainability and gives suggestions for improving the organizational structure of the present initiatives.


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