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Lidia B. Brydak, Agnieszka Woźniak Kosek, Aneta Nitsch-Osuch
Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(11): RA166-171
Influenza causes seasonal infections worldwide that can lead to complications and deaths in every age group. The most effective and cheapest way to combat influenza is through vaccination. In many countries, including Poland, for each age group, the rate of vaccination against influenza is still at a very low level, which generates high social costs, not infrequently family tragedies in the case of irreversible complications of influenza, or death of a loved one. Regular vaccination should be part of good medical practice, as well as an individual’s engagement in their own health and in that of their family. Based on numerous studies, it is estimated that the effectiveness of current inactivated influenza vaccine in reducing morbidity and mortality in high-risk groups ranges from 50–70%. According to data from the National Institute of Public Health-National Institute of Hygiene, the rate of vaccination in children in 2008 in Poland was very low. In the group of children aged from 6 months to 14 years, only 1.1–1.6% were vaccinated. Although influenza vaccination for people aged over 65 years was free of charge in many provinces in this group, only 13.4% of this population was immunized, while in the case of people with chronic diseases, only 11.1% were immunized. The vaccination rate among health care employees is an embarrassing 6.4%. More educational activities addressed to both medical professionals and patients are required in order to increase influenza vaccine coverage in Poland.