Preparing for the coming influenza season
In the past influenza season 2014/15, people 60 years of age and older were most severely impacted by the flu in Germany. This is one of the results of the latest influenza season report now published by the Robert Koch Institute’s German National Influenza Working Group. There were an estimated 6,2 million influenza-associated consultations and an estimated 31,000 influenza-associated hospitalisations in Germany. These numbers are only slightly below the estimates for the severe season 2012/13. For risks groups such as the elderly, people with underlying chronic diseases and pregnant women, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a 75 % influenza vaccination rate. However, a recent RKI study shows that this aim is far from being achieved in Germany: In the season 2013/14, for example, only 49 % of the elderly (60 years and older) and 23 % of the chronically ill (aged 18 to 59) were receiving vaccination against influenza. The study also identified the main reasons for people deciding against vaccination: They generally distrust in the vaccine and believe that influenza is not dangerous. Around half of those at high risk of influenza (older than 60 and/or chronically ill) think that the influenza vaccine itself may induce a disease, which is actually not the case. As in previous influenza seasons, the RKI German National Influenza Working Group will give weekly updates on the influenza situation in Germany this winter.
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