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Annual public health and economic benefits of seasonal influenza vaccination: a European estimate

Emmanuelle Preaud1, Laure Durand2, Bérengère Macabeo2, Norbert Farkas3, Brigitte Sloesen4, Abraham Palache5, Francis Shupo6, Sandrine I Samson1* and on behalf of Vaccines Europe influenza working group

Author Affiliations

1 Sanofi Pasteur MSD, 162 av Jean Jaures, Lyon 69367, France

2 Sanofi Pasteur, 2, Avenue Pont Pasteur, Lyon 69007, France

3 Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics AG, Lichtstrasse 35, 4056 Basel, Switzerland

4 GlaxoSmithKline, Rue de l’Institut 89, Rixensart, Belgium

5 Abbott, C.J. van Houtenlaan 36, 1381 CP Weesp, The Netherlands

6 Creativ-Ceutical Ltd, The Bank Chambers, Borough High Street, London SE1 9QQ, UK

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:813  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-813

Published: 7 August 2014



Vaccination is currently the most effective means of preventing influenza infection. Yet evidence of vaccine performance, and the impact and value of seasonal influenza vaccination across risk groups and between seasons, continue to generate much discussion. Moreover, vaccination coverage is below recommended levels.


A model was generated to assess the annual public health benefits and economic importance of influenza vaccination in 5 WHO recommended vaccination target groups (children 6 – 23 months of age; persons with underlying chronic health conditions; pregnant women; health care workers; and, the elderly, 65 years of age) in 27 countries of the European Union. Model estimations were based on standard calculation methods, conservative assumptions, age-based and country-specific data.


Out of approximately 180 million Europeans for whom influenza vaccination is recommended, only about 80 million persons are vaccinated. Seasonal influenza vaccination currently prevents an annual average of between 1.6 million and 2.1 million cases of influenza, 45,300 to 65,600 hospitalizations, and 25,200 to 37,200 deaths. To reach the 75% vaccination coverage target set by the EU Council Recommendation in 2009, an additional 57.4 million person would need to be vaccinated in the elderly and other risk groups. By achieving the 75% target rate set in EU-27 countries, average annual influenza- related events averted would increase from current levels to an additional +1.6 to +1.7 million cases, +23,800 to +31,400 hospitalization, +9,800 to +14,300 deaths, +678,500 to +767,800 physician visits, and +883,800 to +1,015,100 lost days of work yearly. Influenza-related costs averted because of vaccination would increase by an additional + €190 to + €226 million yearly, in vaccination target groups.


Full implementation of current influenza vaccination recommendations of 75% vaccination coverage rate (VCR) in Europe by the 2014–2015 influenza season could immediately reduce an important public health and economic burden.

Influenza; Public health policy; Vaccines and immunization; Modeling; Epidemiology