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Influenza vaccination: review of indications

For most people, flu is not serious, but for the elderly and people with certain medical conditions, flu can lead to serious complications or even death. That is why these groups are offered an annual flu vaccination (the flu shot). At the request of the State Secretary of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Health Council has assessed whether the current state of science gives cause to update the groups being offered the flu shot.

The council recommends that pregnant women from 22 weeks onwards should also be eligible for the annual flu shot in order to protect children between the ages of 0 and 6 months. Newborns themselves cannot be vaccinated against flu, but they are at risk of respiratory problems and hospitalisation when they have flu. The Health Council sees no reason to offer influenza vaccination to healthy children aged 6 months to 17 years because the burden of disease is relatively low in this group.

No significant changes are necessary with regard to the risk groups currently eligible for the annual flu shot. The Health Council recommends keeping the age limit of 60 years, as well as the current medical risk groups. It also recommends including several new medical risk groups, such as people with morbid obesity (BMI ≥ 40).