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The influenza landscape and vaccination coverage in older adults during the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic: data from Several European Countries and Israel.

INTRODUCTION: The Raise Awareness of Influenza Strategies in Europe (RAISE) group gathered information about the healthcare burden of influenza (hospitalizations, intensive care unit [ICU] admissions, and excess deaths), surveillance systems, and the vaccine coverage rate (VCR) in older adults in 18 European countries and Israel.

AREAS COVERED: Published medical literature and official medical documentation on the influenza disease burden in the participating countries were reviewed from 2010/11 until the 2022/23 influenza seasons. Information on the framework for monitoring the disease burden and the provision for ensuring older adults had access to vaccination in their respective countries was provided. Data on influenza VCR in older adults were collected for the 2019/20 to 2022/23 influenza seasons. Data are reported descriptively.

EXPERT OPINION: Influenza presents a significant healthcare burden in older adults. Reporting outcomes across participating countries is heterogeneous, highlighting the need for standardized approaches. Although older adults receive free influenza vaccination, vaccine uptake is highly variable among countries. Moreover, hospitalization rates remain high even in countries reporting a high VCR. Increased awareness and education on the burden of disease and the broader use of improved influenza vaccines for older adults may help reduce the disease burden on this population.

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