Influenza is an infection which can result in severe, prolonged, devastating illness and even death, along with increased in-hospital stays and additional costs. The risk of complications associated with influenza is highest among older persons, young children, patients with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women.
Physicians and other healthcare personnel play an important role in both preventing and transmitting the virus. The virus can be transmitted by symptomatic as well as asymptomatic healthcare professionals, increasing patient and employee exposure to the virus. Despite this, the immunisation rates among healthcare personnel remain very low.
To address this problem, the World Medical Association (WMA) launched a global communications campaign for immunisation amongst physicians with the support of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA). In the first year of its launch, 2013, the campaign targeted physicians through the WMA member associations to promote influenza immunisation. In this way, the campaign also encouraged physicians to act as role models for their patients. The following year emphasized people living with non-communicable diseases as secondary targets. The 2015 campaign focused on children as one of the vulnerable groups. Numerous resources were created throughout the life of the campaign including the dedicated campaign microsite, advocacy materials, videos, interviews, blogs and the social media resources outlets. These are available free of charge from the campaign webpage.