The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimates that every year in Europe occur 4 to 50 million cases of flu occur and that 15,000-70,000 European citizens die each year for complications of influenza (250,000 – 500,000 globally). 90% of deaths occur in individuals over the age of 65 years, especially among those with chronic basic clinical conditions.
That’s why the vaccination is highly recommended for children (from 6 months), aged people (over 65), pregnant women and any person that could be at risk due to severe flu complications such as viral pneumonia, secondary bacterial pneumonia and worsening of underlying medical conditions.
Every year, the European Medicines Agency's ad hoc Influenza Working Group issues EU recommendations for the composition of seasonal influenza vaccines on the basis of observations by the World Health Organization (WHO). The recommendations for the influenza season 2018/2019 were endorsed by the Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) at their March meeting.
Trivalent vaccines for the 2018/2019 season should contain these three virus strains:
For quadrivalent vaccines with two influenza B viruses, a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus in addition to the strains mentioned above is considered appropriate.
These recommendations also apply to the manufacture of live attenuated influenza vaccines.
It is mandatory instead that all the flu vaccines produced in 2017/2018 are withdrawn from the market or no longer sold.
The period for the flu vaccination campaigns is the autumn period (mid-October - late December). It is important to remember that the protection induced by the vaccine begins two weeks after the inoculation and lasts for a period of six to eight months. For this reason and also because the strains may change, a new vaccination is necessary at the beginning of each new flu season.
The Centres for Disease Prevention and Control keep monitoring viruses throughout the year and provides new and updated information as it becomes available. They also help with correct recommendations about antiviral drugs to treat influenza.
To know more about which vaccines are available for the 2018/2019 flu season visit myHealthbox: The medicines search engine
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