Influenza vaccines. A reappraisal of their use

Drugs. 1997 Dec;54(6):841-56. doi: 10.2165/00003495-199754060-00004.


The medical and economic burden associated with annual influenza activity is well known and well documented. Yearly updated influenza vaccines are available to combat the disease and its consequences. In many countries, less than half of the high risk patients are being vaccinated, despite recommendations to do so by national health authorities. Scientific evidence on the safety, tolerance, efficacy and effectiveness of currently existing inactivated influenza vaccines unambiguously demonstrates the favourable benefit/risk ratio of influenza immunisations for high risk patients and strongly suggests an economic benefit of influenza immunisation programmes. Because of both the successful world-wide efforts of the WHO to optimise the chance of an adequate antigenic match between vaccine and epidemic strains each year and the available scientific data about the inactivated influenza vaccines, influenza immunisations should be offered annually to high risk patients. On the basis of the available evidence, offering a vaccination to such patients should be considered an ethical obligation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines* / adverse effects
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Research


  • Influenza Vaccines