BMC Public Health (Dec 2019)

Impact of national influenza vaccination strategy in severe influenza outcomes among the high-risk Portuguese population

  • Ausenda Machado,
  • Irina Kislaya,
  • Amparo Larrauri,
  • Carlos Matias Dias,
  • Baltazar Nunes

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 19, no. 1
pp. 1 – 10


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Abstract Background All aged individuals with a chronic condition and those with 65 and more years are at increased risk of severe influenza post-infection complications. There is limited research on cases averted by the yearly vaccination programs in high-risk individuals. The objective was to estimate the impact of trivalent seasonal influenza vaccination on averted hospitalizations and death among the high-risk population in Portugal. Methods The impact of trivalent seasonal influenza vaccination was estimated using vaccine coverage, vaccine effectiveness and the number of influenza-related hospitalizations and deaths. The number of averted events (NAE), prevented fraction (PF) and number needed to vaccinate (NVN) were estimated for seasons 2014/15 to 2016/17. Results The vaccination strategy averted on average approximately 1833 hospitalizations and 383 deaths per season. Highest NAE was observed in the ≥65 years population (85% of hospitalizations and 95% deaths) and in the 2016/17 season (1957 hospitalizations and 439 deaths). On average, seasonal vaccination prevented 21% of hospitalizations in the population aged 65 and more, and 18.5% in the population with chronic conditions. The vaccination also prevented 29% and 19.5% of deaths in each group of the high-risk population. It would be needed to vaccinate 3360 high-risk individuals, to prevent one hospitalization and 60,471 high-risk individuals to prevent one death. Conclusion The yearly influenza vaccination campaigns had a sustained positive benefit for the high-risk population, reducing hospitalizations and deaths. These results can support public health plans toward increased vaccine coverage in high-risk groups.