Introduction: Intradermal (ID) influenza vaccination induces an enhanced immune response in the elderly when compared with intramuscular (IM) vaccination. In 2009, an ID seasonal influenza vaccine (Intanza(®) [Sanofi Pasteur MSD, Lyon, France] 15 μg) was approved for use in individuals aged ≥ 60 years in Europe. This survey conducted in Belgium was the first in Europe to assess the acceptability of this vaccine in routine clinical practice by vaccinees and their general practitioners (GPs).
Methods: GPs willing to use both the ID and IM influenza vaccines were selected during the 2010-2011 influenza season. Each GP recruited ≤ 10 patients aged ≥ 60 years who received the ID vaccine. Vaccinees and GPs completed questionnaires about their opinions on influenza vaccination and the acceptability of the ID influenza vaccine.
Results: In total, 105 GPs and 837 vaccinees completed questionnaires. A high proportion of vaccinees (40.3%) was aged ≥ 75 years, and 95.5% had been vaccinated the previous year. The majority of vaccinees was very satisfied (70.0%) or satisfied (27.9%) with the ID vaccine. The main reasons for the high satisfaction rate were that the injection was not very painful, administration was quick, and the vaccinee felt confident about the micro-needle injection system. Most vaccinees (91.1%) who had previously received IM influenza vaccination preferred the ID vaccine, and 98.5% of vaccinees reported they would consider receiving the ID vaccine the following year. The majority of GPs was very satisfied (78.6%) or satisfied (18.4%) with the ID vaccine, and most GPs (87.6%) expressed a preference for the ID vaccine over IM influenza vaccine.
Conclusion: The ID influenza vaccine was well accepted by vaccinees and their GPs, who expressed a preference for the ID vaccine over conventional IM influenza vaccine. The availability of the ID influenza vaccine may help to improve uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination in the elderly.