January - March 2017: 
Volume 30, Issue 1

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Pneumon 2017, 30(1):41-48
Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Coverage in Greece in 2009 and 2014
Authors Information

1: Research LAB - Hellenic Cancer Society,
2: Institute of Public Health - The American College of Greece,
3: Biomedical Research Foundation of Athens Academy, Greece

BACKGROUND: Prevention of seasonal influenza is the most effective public health intervention to control epidemics, largely dependent on influenza vaccination coverage rates (VCRs). The current study aimed to summarize characteristics of VCRs in the general population and among vulnerable populations in Greece. METHODS: Data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority Health Information Survey in 2009 (n=6,172) and 2014 (n=8,223) was analyzed using weighted sample size for VCRs in the general population as well as a sub-analysis for vulnerable populations for those with chronic disease and predictive models for those over 60 years of age. A two-samples proportion test, logistic regression and Walds test with p-value threshold RESULTS: VCRs from 2009 to 2014 increased significantly (p <0.05) by 9.8% in the Greek population. Those with asthma and COPD younger than age 60 showed lower VCRs than the older age group and those with hypertension, diabetes and back problems had significant (p <0.05) increased VCRs from 2009 to 2014. In addition, among those over 60 years of age, factors associated with being vaccinated included having a chronic illness, health status, last doctor’s visit, education and geographical location while smoking status was associated with not being vaccinated. CONCLUSION: In a country that faces a prolonged economic crisis, prevention is key to relieving the burden. Influenza vaccination is the only cost-effective and preventive measure to control flu epidemics. It could be extremely beneficial to invest in communication strate-gies to increase VCRs and prevent disease, as opposed to managing expensive and devastating epidemics.