The new report* states that patients normally recover within a week or two from the associated fevers, sore throats, coughs, headaches and fatigue, but vulnerable individuals can develop the more severe disease pneumonia which can cause severe illness and even death. Both cases prove a serious public health problem that creates a huge social and economic burden for national healthcare systems, and affects the wider economy as a result of time taken off work.
However, safe and effective vaccines have been available for decades, and the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic increased public awareness of the disease, increasing demand for vaccines throughout the US, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Japan. These developed countries offer a high awareness of public health and hygiene, wide vaccination coverage, and rising government support for immunization, presenting an attractive market for vaccine manufacturers. Their growing elderly populations also offer large numbers of high risk individuals, prompting wide scale immunization. GBI Research predicts that the influenza vaccine market will grow in these top seven countries at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 3.9% during the 2011–2018 period, from $2.9 billion to $3.8 billion.
Governments in these nations have responded positively to the threat posed by pandemic and seasonal influenza outbreaks, often adopting national immunization programs to deal with the challenge of large-scale immunization in a short space of time. Through these programs, governments provide reimbursement of the provision of free treatment, immunizing those at risk of infection, while raising awareness of influenza among the general public. Every year during the influenza season in the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany, free doses of seasonal influenza vaccines are supplied to elderly people, pregnant women, chronically ill individuals and other high risk groups, based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). In the US, influenza costs are completely reimbursed by Medicaid for the insured population.
The vaccinated population in the top seven countries accounted for 28.9% of the overall population in 2011, with the highest overall vaccination coverage rate (40.9%) seen in the US and the lowest (18.1%) in Italy. The vaccinated population in the top seven countries is forecast to increase to 32.9% in 2018.