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Rates of immunization against pandemic and seasonal influenza in persons at high risk of severe influenza illness: a cross-sectional study among patients of the French Sentinelles general practitioners

Ludivine Privileggio12*, Alessandra Falchi123, Marie-Lise Grisoni12, Cécile Souty12, Clément Turbelin12, Laure Fonteneau4, Thomas Hanslik12 and Solen Kernéis12

Author Affiliations

1 INSERM, UMR-S 707, Paris, F-75012, France

2 UPMC Université Paris 06, UMR-S U707, Paris, F-75012, France

3 Laboratoire de Virologie, Université de Corse, France

4 Département des Maladies Infectieuses, Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice, France

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:246  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-246

Published: 20 March 2013



Three main categories of persons are targeted by the French influenza vaccination strategy: all persons aged 65 years or over, those aged less than 65 years with certain underlying medical conditions and health care workers. The main objective of this study was to estimate rates of influenza immunization in these target groups attending a medical consultation for two consecutive influenza seasons: 2009–2010 (seasonal and pandemic vaccines) and 2010–2011 (seasonal vaccine).


A standardized questionnaire was mailed to 1323 general practitioners (GPs) of the Sentinelles Network, collecting data on all patients seen on a randomly assigned day. For every patient, following information was collected: age, gender, BMI, presence of any medical condition that increases risk of severe influenza illness, and vaccination status for the three vaccines mentioned.


Two hundred and three GPs agreed to participate and included 4248 patients. Overall, in persons with high risk of severe influenza, the estimated vaccine coverages (VC) were 60%, (95% CI = 57%; 62%) for the seasonal vaccine in 2010–2011, 61% (59%; 63%) for the seasonal vaccine in 2009–2010 and 23% (21%; 25%), for the pandemic vaccine in 2009–2010. Among people aged 65 years and over (N=1259, 30%) VC was estimated for seasonal vaccines at 72% (70%; 75%) in 2010–2011 and 73% (71%; 76%) in 2009–2010, and 24% (22%; 26%) for the pandemic vaccine. The lowest seasonal VC were observed in younger persons (<65 years) with underlying medical conditions, in particular pregnant women (<10%) and overweight persons (<30%).


Our study shows that influenza vaccination coverage among patients of the French Sentinelles general practitioners remains largely below the target of 75% defined by the 2004 French Public Health Law, and underscores the need for the implementation of public health interventions likely to increase vaccination uptake.

Vaccination; Influenza; General practitioners; Sentinelles network; Pregnancy; Obesity