Influenza - letter on vaccination - 8/9/2005

Dear Doctor/Pharmacist, 15/8/05

The World Health Organization, is asking all countries to reach 50% influenza coverage rate of all those over 60 years of age by 2006 and 75% coverage rate by 2010. It has also obliged all countries to start providing local data on who is being vaccinated. In order to be able to reach these targets the Health Division needs accurate data on who is being vaccinated with the annual influenza vaccine by age and sex. This information is also being asked by EISS and other European networks and has now become essential also to the department of Public Health especially in view of the influenza pandemic.

Your collaboration is needed in order for the Department of Public Health to collect this data. All we are asking is that you give us data regarding the age, sex and if they are of a high risk group of ALL your patients who will be vaccinated with the seasonal flu jab this year. High risk group patients are those suffering from chronic disease of cardiac, respiratory, renal, liver origin, diabetes and any immuno-deficient state. Details of your patients or yourselves are NOT required. A pre-paid envelop together with the form is being sent to you. Please fill in the details and once you have given out all your influenza vaccines please send them to Dr Tanya Melillo at the Department of Public Health. Our address is 37/39 rue D’Argens, Msida, MSD05.

This year the demand for the seasonal vaccine has been enormous and it is important that we know how much of our population has been vaccinated per age group and sex.

Please do not start vaccinating your patients before the beginning of OCTOBER. It takes 3-4 weeks to develop immunity and immunity starts waning after 6 months.
Last year our sentinel surveillance showed that the peak influenza activity was in mid February till the end of March. Those patients who were given the vaccine in August or September did not have enough immunity during the peak of influenza, which resulted in them risking developing influenza and especially the high risk groups and the elderly risking ending up in hospital with complications arising
from the influenza virus. Other EU countries start giving the vaccine in October and their winters start much earlier than us.

The Department of Public Health greatly appreciates your cooperation. Please help me collect this data. If you have any difficulties, you can contact me on 21322305.
Information on Influenza and copies of this form can be found on our website:
Yours sincerely,

Dr T Melillo MD MSc
Disease Surveillance Unit
Tel: 21322305: Email:

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