Zaraket H, et al. Review of seasonal influenza vaccination in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: Policies, use and barriers. J Infect Public Health. 2018 Nov 13.
Vaccination is the main control measure for influenza and its severe complications. To better understand the influenza vaccination situation in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, we conducted an extensive review of literature published between 2006 and 2016 in the region on influenza vaccine policies, use, recommendations and coverage. Forty-eight articles met the inclusion criteria. These originated from 11 of the 22 countries of the region, with most being from Saudi Arabia and Iran. The review revealed knowledge gaps and misconceptions about influenza and its vaccines even among healthcare workers. Most of the papers reviewed reported low coverage in the target populations. Limited literature on the number of countries with concrete national influenza vaccination policies was available, which may not accurately represent the situation in the Region. In conclusion, lack of awareness and knowledge are the main barriers to influenza vaccination, which remains very low in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Countries of the region need to promote and invest in research on influenza vaccination, which is critical to inform evidence-based programmes and policies to improve vaccination rates and control influenza.
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