Influenza vaccination 2020/2021
The influenza season runs from Week 40 in the autumn until Week 20 in the spring. SSI monitor the occurrence of influenza in the population throughout the season using different surveillance systems, e.g. the number of influenza-positive laboratory samples, the number of patients presenting to general practitioner and on-call doctors with influenza-like illness (ILI), and the number of patients admitted to hospital with influenza, including patients being admitted to intensive care units with serious influenza illness. Furthermore, the number of weekly influenza-related deaths is being monitored.
As in previous influenza seasons, free influenza vaccination is offered during the 2020-2021 season to special groups at risk of developing serious and complicated influenza illness. The risk groups include for example elderly people aged 65 years and above, pregnant women and chronically ill people. Vaccination not only reduces the risk of infection with influenza; it also reduces the risk of developing serious conditions, risk of admission to hospital and risk of death if you do get infected with influenza, even though you received the vaccination.
In addition, , from this season, staff employed in the health care sector, who are responsible for the care and treatment of individuals at risk of developing serious and complicated influenza illness, will be recommended to receive the free influenza vaccination.
The free influenza vaccination offered to special risk groups is available from 1 October 2020 until 15 January 2021. However, for pregnant women in their 2nd or 3rd trimester and for immunosuppressed persons and their household contacts, the vaccination offer is extended until the end of February 2021.
Influenza vaccines in the 2020/2021 season
This year, influenza vaccines have been purchased from two manufacturers, InfluvacTetra and VaxigripTetra, respectively. The composition of the vaccines is based on WHO's recommendations, containing surface proteins from the four seasonal influenza viruses that have been in circulation globally. None of the vaccines contain thiomersal or adjuvant, but may contain trace amounts of egg/chicken protein, formaldehyde, neomycine and gentamicine.
The composition of the 4-valent vaccines is as follows:
- A/Guangdong-Maonan/SWL1536/2019 (H1N1) pdm09 - like virus (NEW VIRUS)
- A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2) – like virus (NEW VIRUS)
- B/Washington/02/2019 – like virus
- B/Phuket/3073/2013 – like virus (the Yamagata line).
The InfluvacTetra vaccine may be used for vaccination of children as from three years of age, whereas the VaxigripTetra is approved for use in children as from six months of age.
In addition, a third influenza vaccine, Fluzone, which is a high-dose 3-valent vaccine, will be used. Fluzone is available to a limited extent and will be offered to citizens aged 85 or above, as this vaccine is considered more effective for the oldest age groups compared to the two 4-valent standard-dose vaccines.