Concerted action is needed to increase seasonal vaccination coverage across the European Union (EU), according to a coalition of medical and scientific organisations.
The Steering Group on Influenza Vaccination has launched the ‘EU Manifesto on Influenza Vaccination’, outlining several key steps needed to boost vaccination rates and protect the most vulnerable people.
The manifesto calls for better exchange of good practice and interprofessional collaboration at a European level.
Other recommendations include paying special attention to at-risk groups and promoting influenza vaccination among all healthcare professionals.
The group, which includes the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union, also highlight the need for improved awareness of the importance and safety of influenza vaccination among the general public.
Seasonal influenza vaccination coverage rates remain low and are declining in many European countries, the group said. It estimates that the 2009 European Council recommendation target of a vaccination coverage rate of 75% in at-risk people is missed by almost 60 million people per year.
This means every year there are two million additional cases of influenza in Europe that could be prevented.
FranÃ§oise GrossetÃªte, member of the European parliament and co-chair of the EU Steering Group on Influenza Vaccination said: “The use of vaccination in reducing the substantial burden of influenza across Europe is not currently optimised.
“Our manifesto aims to provide effective strategies to improve vaccination coverage rates and ensure these are implemented to reach the 75% vaccination coverage target.”