Indexed on: 01 Aug '18Published on: 01 Aug '18Published in: Annali di igiene : medicina preventiva e di comunita
Influenza can be a serious disease and constitutes a threat to the population. Every year, seasonal influenza epidemics affect about 5-15% of the world's population. Some frail categories (such as the elderly) can develop complications, request hospitalization, and may die. In order to reduce the medical, social and economic burden of influenza, vaccination is recommended by many health authorities worldwide. Italy has a national programme of influenza vaccination which targets specific categories, such as subjects with chronic conditions, pregnant women, healthcare workers and those over 65 years old. Despite this opportunity for prevention, however, vaccination coverage in Italy does not reach the minimum recommended threshold of 75%. This paper reports some interventions that can improve coverage rates of the elderly, such as "tailor-made" information campaigns, healthcare workers training and the adoption of innovative communication strategies in order to implement vaccination strategies that take into account the needs of the elderly population, the involvement of elderly people's associations in awareness-raising activities and strengthening the role of general practitioners in promoting influenza vaccination.