Seasonal flu vaccination

Seasonal flu vaccination in Croatia began on Friday, November 3, 2017

Flu season in Europe has not started yet. Although individual cases of laboratory confirmed flu have been detected in several European countries, no European country has yet experienced the onset of flu season. Ideally, vaccination should be given before the onset of the flu season; however, having a flu vaccine when the disease is already present in Croatia can still be beneficial to persons who did not manage to get it beforehand.

For this flu season Croatian Institute of Public Health has procured 280 000 doses of trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine. The quantity was estimated on the basis of last year’s (2016/2017) response.

Vaccination is recommended and free of charge for:

  • persons aged 65 and over
  • residents of care and chronic care homes (regardless of age, including children)
  • patients with chronic diseases, especially diseases of the heart and lungs, including children, and children with impaired lung function (cystic fibrosis, chronic asthma, bronchopulmonary dysplasia) and congenital abnormalities in particular
  • adults and children with chronic diseases of metabolism (including diabetes mellitus), chronic kidney disease, haemoglobinopathies and immune system deficiency (including HIV infection)
  • children and adolescents (6 months to 18 years) on long-term therapy with drugs containing acetylsalicylic acid (to avoid the onset of Reye’s syndrome associated with influenza)
  • close contacts of persons who, despite recommendation, cannot have the flu vaccine due to their health status (contraindication). These contacts include household members (including children), providers of home health care etc., who should be vaccinated under the same conditions
  • residential care and chronic care home employees
  • healthcare workers
  • pregnant women with chronic diseases, after the first trimester of pregnancy

Vaccination is free of charge (pursuant to CHIF decision) for the following persons:

  • persons older than 65
  • patients with chronic diseases (chronic heart, lung and kidney diseases, diabetes mellitus and transplant patients)
  • healthcare workers

You can have flu vaccine at your GP practice or at your regional public health institute.

At the Croatian Institute of Public Health you can get the flu vaccine every workday from 8.30 a.m. till 3:30 p.m.

Permanent contraindications to vaccination are severe allergy to egg and chicken proteins, allergy to a vaccine component and a severe side-effect that followed an earlier administration of flu vaccine. Temporary contraindication to vaccination is an acute febrile illness.

Influenza vaccine efficacy varies from season to season, depending, among other factors, on the degree to which circulating viral strains correspond to the strains in the vaccine, the person’s age and health status and on whether he or she had flu shots in the previous years.  In seasons with good strain matching, vaccine efficacy in healthy adults is around 70%, and in the elderly and patients with chronic diseases the efficacy is usually lower, whereas in some seasons it can as low as 20-30%. However, in persons whose health can be seriously jeopardized by flue, even a reduction in the risk of flu by 20% accomplished by vaccination is better than no protection whatsoever.

The most frequent side-effects of flu vaccination are mild and disappear spontaneously within a day or two (oedema and redness at the injection site, fever, muscle aches, headache).

Division for Epidemiology of Communicable Diseases, October 25, 2017