Global Challenges in Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Supply, Use, and Policy


  • Kaitlin Schroeder Stanford University


Seasonal influenza outbreaks occur on every continent, infecting millions and killing around 500,000 patients each year.  The 2018 influenza season has been a vicious one—the H3N2 strain is a fast-mutating, aggressive form of the virus, and we have had difficulty immunizing against it.  Decreasing the devastation of seasonal influenza starts with smart vaccine systems: a greater supply of doses, distributed to the right people.  In this review, we evaluate the global threat of seasonal influenza and explore the availability of vaccines as an essential prevention mechanism. We first identify key stakeholders in global influenza policy, vaccine supply, and regional public health governance. Next, we define the extent of the need for vaccines by examining surveillance systems and assessing the current disease burden of seasonal influenza. We examine current challenges in vaccine availability and allocation, and their respective impacts on health outcomes. Finally, we discuss policy implications of supply and allocation studies; we particularly note the promising outlook of communication programs, the advantages of optimized dose distribution, and the need to concentrate on infrastructure in developing countries. 






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