Flu Awareness Campaign 2017

16–20 October 2017

The 5th Flu Awareness Campaign will take place on 16–20 October 2017. WHO/Europe launched the Flu Awareness Campaign initiative in 2013 as an extension of European Immunization Week to raise awareness about influenza and increase influenza vaccination uptake.

Why a specific campaign on influenza? While influenza is usually mild and most people recover quickly, this contagious respiratory illness can result in severe disease and death.

The best way to prevent influenza is through vaccination. As influenza viruses change, a flu shot is needed every year to keep up with the circulating viruses. In the northern hemisphere, the influenza season usually occurs during autumn and winter, and October is therefore an optimal time to be vaccinated. Consequently, October is the time for the Campaign.

The Campaign aims at increasing uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination in risk groups. Some people, such as older people, pregnant women, young children and people with underlying health conditions are at higher risk of serious influenza complications. In addition, health-care workers are more exposed to different viruses on a daily basis, including the influenza virus. This year, the focal group is the elderly and health-care workers.

To support the campaign, WHO/Europe has developed generic campaign materials for local modification and use during the Flu Awareness Campaign, but also throughout the entire influenza season. Campaign messages are tailored to the different audiences and are disseminated via posters, fact sheets, adverts and other channels, including social media, in local languages.

12 countries participated in the 2016 Campaign and Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are also joining this year.