Influenza vaccines and influenza antiviral drugs in Africa: are they available and do guidelines for their use exist?

BMC Public Health. 2014 Jan 16;14:41. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-41.


Background: Influenza viruses cause significant morbidity and mortality in Africa, particularly among high-risk groups, but influenza vaccines and antiviral drugs may not be commonly available and used. The main aim of this study was to determine the availability and use of influenza vaccines and antiviral drugs as well as to describe existing related guidelines and policies in Africa.

Methods: A self-administered survey was distributed among key influenza experts in 40 African countries.

Results: Of the 40 countries surveyed, 31 (78%) responded; 14/31 (45%) reported availability of seasonal influenza vaccine, and 19/31 (65%) reported availability of antiviral drugs for the treatment of influenza. Vaccine coverage data were only available for 4/14 (29%) countries that reported availability of seasonal influenza vaccine and ranged from <0.5% to 2% of the population.

Conclusions: Influenza vaccines and antiviral drugs are available in many countries in Africa but coverage estimates are low and remain largely unknown. Describing the local burden of disease and identifying funding are essential to encourage countries to use influenza vaccine more widely.

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Antiviral Agents / supply & distribution*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Influenza Vaccines / supply & distribution*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Influenza Vaccines