Influenza claims thousands of lives, but some European countries are fighting back

This year, several European countries are leading the way in encouraging vulnerable groups to become immunised against influenza, including:

  • Croatia: During the influenza season, the Ministry of Health and WHO organize lectures and round-table discussions for citizens and health care workers about influenza and influenza vaccine. This year, family doctors are distributing flyers to people over 65 and to those with underlying conditions; they are also recommending vaccination through the media.
  • Romania: WHO has produced a short TV video with the Association of Family Doctors to promote influenza vaccination among the four risk groups.
  • Estonia: The Ministry of Social Affairs, the Health Board, WHO and health workers are piloting a new project this year to engage family doctors in targeting people over 65 and to sending them postcards with messages highlighting the importance of getting vaccinated.
  • Poland: The National Institute of Public Health has invited journalists to a breakfast event to inform them about influenza and vaccination and why some people are more at risk than others.
  • Latvia, Lithuania and Serbia are distributing posters and flyers to health centres at both national and local levels and have shared key messages through relevant websites.