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Vaccine. 2006 Jan 30;24(5):622-8. Epub 2005 Aug 24.

Influenza vaccination coverage and reasons to refrain among high-risk persons in four European countries.

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NIVEL, Netherlands Institute of Health Services Research, P.O. Box 1568, 3500 BN Utrecht, The Netherlands.


This paper examines influenza vaccine coverage using a population base of an average of 2300 persons in each of four European countries (Germany, Spain, Poland and Sweden). The reasons for non-vaccination of those in the high-risk groups were explored by questionnaire. The vaccine coverage rate (VCR) for elderly ranged from 18% in Poland to 67% in Spain. The VCR for high-risk population under 65 was 10% in Poland, 13% in Sweden, 27% in Germany and 30% in Spain. The most important reasons mentioned for not being vaccinated were: perceived sufficient resistance to flu (33-42%) in all countries; financial barriers in Poland (25%), and not to qualify for the vaccination (30%) and forgetfulness (20%) in Germany. Receiving a personal invitation for the vaccination, results in higher coverage rates in all four countries. We think that future interventions could be directed towards: an information campaign with special attention to the high-risk groups due to disease; promotion of personal invitations; and, for Poland, solving financial barriers to vaccination.

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