The public health impact of the so-called “fluad effect” on the 2014/2015 influenza vaccination campaign in Italy: Ethical implications for health-care workers and health communication practitioners

The Fluad Effect Working Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Seasonal influenza, causing complications, hospitalizations and deaths, generates a serious socio-economic burden, especially among elderly and high-risk subjects, as well as among adult individuals. Despite the availability and active free-of charge offer of influenza vaccines, vaccine coverage rates remain low and far from the target established by the Ministry of Health. Notwithstanding their effectiveness, vaccines are victims of prejudices and false myths, that contribute to the increasing phenomenon of vaccine hesitancy and loss of confidence. Media and, in particular, new media and information and communication technologies (ICTs) play a major role in disseminating health-related information. They are extremely promising devices for delivering health education and promoting disease prevention, including immunization. However, they can also have a negative impact on population’s health attitudes and behaviors when channeling wrong, misleading information. During the 2014/2015 influenza vaccination campaign, the report of four deaths allegedly caused by administration of an adjuvanted influenza vaccine, Fluad the so-called “Fluad case” received an important media coverage, which contributed to the failure of the vaccination campaign, dramatically reducing the influenza vaccine uptake. In the extant literature, there is a dearth of information concerning the effect of the “Fluad case”. The current study aims at quantifying the impact of the “Fluad effect” at the level of the Local Health Unit 3 (LHU3) ASL3 Genovese, Genoa, Italy. Ethical implications for health-care workers and health communication practitioners are also envisaged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-134
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Volume973
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Ethics of vaccination
  • Fluad influenza vaccine
  • Influenza vaccination campaign
  • Media coverage

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