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Health at a Glance: Europe 2016

State of Health in the EU Cycle

image of Health at a Glance: Europe 2016

This fourth edition of Health at a Glance: Europe presents key indicators of health and health systems in the 28 EU countries, 5 candidate countries to the EU and 3 EFTA countries. This 2016 edition contains two main new features: two thematic chapters analyse the links between population health and labour market outcomes, and the important challenge of strengthening primary care systems in European countries; and a new chapter on the resilience, efficiency and sustainability of health systems in Europe, in order to align the content of this publication more closely with the 2014 European Commission Communication on effective, accessible and resilient health systems. This publication is the result of a renewed collaboration between the OECD and the European Commission under the broader "State of Health in the EU" initiative, designed to support EU member states in their evidence-based policy making.

 

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Influenza vaccination for older people

Influenza is a common infectious disease affecting 5‑10% of adults and 20-30% of children. Seasonal influenza causes 4-50 million symptomatic cases in the UE/EEA each year, and 15 000-70 000 European citizens die every year of causes associated with influenza (ECDC, 2016). Epidemics of influenza can result in high rates of worker absenteeism and place high demands on health systems from increases in medical visits, hospitalisations, and medication usage including antibiotics. Vaccination has proven to be an effective tool in reducing the burden of seasonal influenza and is usually managed at the primary level of health care (see ). Older people are at high risk for serious illness from influenza and WHO recommends vaccination in this group. A review of vaccination drivers and barriers found that among elderly populations, personalised postcards or phone calls were effective in increasing vaccination coverage while barriers included social disadvantage, smoking, and lack of social support (ECDC, 2013). In addition to older people, the European Council recommends influenza vaccination for persons with chronic medical conditions and health care workers. Along with these groups, WHO recommends influenza vaccination also for pregnant women and children.

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