Influenza vaccination in Turkey: Prevalence of risk groups, current vaccination status, factors influencing vaccine uptake and steps taken to increase vaccination rate

Ciblak M. A. , Platformu G.

VACCINE, vol.31, no.3, pp.518-523, 2013 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 31 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.11.022
  • Journal Name: VACCINE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.518-523


Influenza infections cause considerable morbidity and mortality not only during the pandemics but also during annual epidemics. Vaccines are the most effective tools for preventing the infection. Although World Health Organization (WHO) and Ministry of Health (MoH) recommends vaccination for people at increased risk, sales data indicate that vaccination rate remains low in Turkey. Vaccine recommended groups are well defined and reimbursed in Turkey. However, the prevalence of people in risk groups, current vaccination rates and factors influencing vaccine uptake which are essential in order to develop and sustain effective strategies to increase vaccination rate are not documented. A thorough literature review was performed to determine the estimated number of people in risk groups, vaccination rates, factors influencing vaccine uptake in Turkey. Actions taken by the health authorities in order to increase the vaccine uptake among specified risk groups are also summarized. Based on the published prevalence rates, current study calculated that there are approximately 27 to 33 million people in risk groups. In addition, there are 428,000 health care providers serving in the public sector who are at increased risk for influenza infections. The lowest reported vaccination rate (5.9%) was in the elderly >= 65 years of age and the highest (27.3%) in patients with COPD. Finally, survey results indicated that leading factor negatively influencing vaccine uptake was disbelief in the effectiveness of vaccine. In order to increase vaccination coverage, vaccines are provided to health care providers free of charge and reimbursed for those in the risk groups. Realizing the fact that combating flu requires multidisciplinary collaboration, a stakeholder network, Grip Platformu, has been established in 2011 with the endorsement of the MoH to increase influenza awareness and vaccine coverage rates among risk groups in accordance with WHO recommendations. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.