Продолжая использование сайта, вы соглашаетесь с использованием файлов cookie. Подробнее.


Influenza is one of the world's most common diseases caused by viruses. The disease is accompanied by a sharp rise in body temperature up to 38 degrees or higher, malaise, and severe intoxication. Influenza is transmitted by airborne droplets (by coughing, sneezing or talking), and its causative virus is known to mutate quickly and cause annual epidemics. There are those “risk groups” that, for one reason or another, are most susceptible to getting the flu and also have a high risk of developing complications after an infection. Let's find out why.

Pregnant women

Immunity in pregnant women is weakened due to hormonal changes and changes in the immune system caused by foetal development. The risk of contracting flu is therefore several times higher, and the infection itself can be severe. Contracting the flu during pregnancy is doubly dangerous for both the mother and the unborn child. Some of the worst complications of the flu are miscarriages and premature delivery. If the future mother is also carrying the infection “out of bed”, she is at risk of developing various fetal malformations, giving birth to babies with kidney, liver, heart and brain damage, and she may even lose her baby in utero. The ultimate danger of influenza for pregnant women is the death of the woman and her fetus, which cannot always be prevented by modern medicinal products and resuscitation measures.

Of course, these dreadful consequences can and should be prevented by getting a influenza vaccine in time. Vaccination is the only way to protect a pregnant woman and her unborn child from the severe consequences of influenza and has been a priority in the health care system in Europe and the USA for more than 20 years.

In Russia, vaccination of pregnant women against influenza is based upon the Order N.125n of the Ministry of Health of RF dated March 21, 2014 “On Approval of the National Preventive Vaccination Calendar and the Calendar of Preventive Immunizations for Epidemic Indications”. A future mother should be vaccinated against influenza in the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

A huge number of studies, both at home and abroad, have proven the safety of flu vaccination for pregnant women. Vaccination is not associated with the development of adverse events, a worsening of the clinical course of pregnancy and does not affect the embryofoetal development of the child.

Only special vaccines, which contain no live viruses but only their purified inactive fragments - antigens responsible for the development of immunity, are allowed for vaccinating pregnant women. So, vaccination with these products is absolutely safe for both the mother and the baby.

It is not only the vaccine that is beneficial to future mothers: they need to eat well, get enough sleep and get as much fresh air as possible to strengthen their immunity.


Immunity in children in the first months of life is mainly provided by passive maternal immunity, i.e. antibodies against viruses are passed on from mother to child. Newborn babies thus lack their own immunity, which greatly increases their risk of influenza morbidity. The situation is complicated by influenza vaccines being not effective to children under six months old, because they do not have their own antibodies. For families who are expecting a baby, therefore, compulsory flu prevention for future parents-is essential, namely as follows:
To protect a newborn, a woman should be vaccinated against influenza during the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy. By getting vaccinated during pregnancy, the future mother-will pass on the transplacental antibodies to the newborn, protecting it reliably against influenza in the first 6 months of life. This is very important because no influenza vaccines have been developed for these babies yet, and taking antivirals can be dangerous for both the woman herself and the newborn baby.
Everyone who comes into contact with your child (both health care staff and family members) should be vaccinated against the flu.
If a family member has the slightest sign of an acute respiratory infection, he or she should be never allowed to come into contact with the child.

Children under five

During annual flu epidemics, up to 30% of children contract infection. Children under 5 years of age account for the majority of cases, which is due to the formation of specific antiviral immunity at this age.

With influenza pneumonia, pulmonary edema develops rapidly, followed by heart failure and complications from the kidneys and nervous system. The most common cause of lethal outcomes in severe influenza is neurotoxemia (impaired consciousness up to and including coma associated with circulatory disorders). Children with chronic diseases are at double risk - from flu complications, and from an exacerbation of the underlying disease almost always entailed by flu.

In children with asthma and chronic lung disease, influenza leads to aggravation of the disease, bouts of breathing difficulties, and is complicated by pneumonia. Influenza in children with neurological pathology is accompanied by severe respiratory distress, often with a fatal outcome. In patients with heart disease, it leads to heart failure. Influenza causes exacerbations of diabetes, cystic fibrosis and many other already serious diseases.

To keep your child safe from the flu and such severe consequences, it is important one realize that the only effective way to protect a 6+ months’ old child against flu is to get him/ her vaccinated. Vaccination is a priority method of influenza prevention not only in Russia, but also in the health systems of Europe and the United States.

The only conditions that must be taken into account when planning the vaccination are that the child does not have an acute infectious disease and is allergic to chicken protein, as the influenza vaccine is produced using chicken embryos and traces of these proteins may be present in the vaccine.

A huge number of studies, both at home and abroad, have proven the safety of flu vaccination. A comparison of groups of healthy children and children with different diseases showed that their post-vaccination period was equally favorable. In some cases, there may be a rise in body temperature on the day of vaccination, and malaise. Reactions such as redness, swelling, and soreness at the injection site are rare and go away quickly.

As part of the National Preventive Vaccination Calendar, a vaccine with a reduced number of antigens is supplied for vaccination of children and pregnant women, which reduces the burden on the body and increases the safety of the vaccination. Importantly, the vaccine contains no preservatives or antibiotics and is released in individual syringe dose with an atraumatic needle. The protective effect after influenza vaccination occurs on average 2 weeks after the procedure and lasts for a year.

Elderly people

Elderly people are categorized as being at risk for two reasons:

Over the age of 60, there is often one or more chronic diseases. This has a negative effect on the immune system and increases the risk of contracting flu. Therefore, when elderly people get the flu, they face the inevitable exacerbation of chronic diseases, creating a “vicious circle” that weakens the body even further.

Even in the absence of chronic diseases, a natural decline in immune protection occurs with age, making a person more susceptible to viruses.

In view of foregoing, it can be claimed that older people, regardless of their general condition, are strongly exposed to contracting influenza. In addition, they will have a longer, more severe disease progression and more likely to suffer from complications. Therefore, annual vaccination with modern inactivated vaccines is also indicated for persons over 60 years of age.

Persons with chronic diseases

People with serious chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system, lungs, kidneys, and other systems and organs have a more severe course of the flu, that is causing exacerbations of these diseases and aggravates their prognosis.

The high risk of getting the flu in this case is due to the suppression of immune functions due to the long-term course of pathological processes in the body.

Preventing influenza with vaccination is just as important here as it is for elderly people.


People who travel frequently are at risk of morbidity because of the large number of contacts with different people, staying in public places (train stations, airports), and frequent journeys by public transport. The risk of encountering a new type of virus in such a case is certainly much higher than for stay-at-homers. In addition, long flights and changes of climate zones reduce immunity.

So if you are often away on business or going on an long trip, take the time to get influenza vaccination 2 weeks before you travel.

If a weakened immune system faces the disease, symptoms will be more severe and last longer than usual (longer than a week), and complications can occur more often.

Viral infections lead to even more immunosuppression. Therefore, annual influenza vaccination with inactivated vaccines is particularly recommended for immunocompromised people.

The vaccination should be performed 2 weeks prior to the onset of the seasonal influenza epidemic, i.e. by mid-October at the latest.

Immunocompromised patients

Given today's rhythm of life, especially in megacities, we can say that people are increasingly faced with immune-suppressing factors throughout their lives. Such factors include: unfavourable environmental conditions, long-term stress, eating disorders and irrational diets, reduced physical activity, unhealthy habits, abuse of medicines or, conversely, inattention to one's health and, as a consequence, chronic infections that reduce immunity. Also, a person's immunity naturally weakens when there is less sunshine (during the winter season), during pregnancy and in old age.

A pathological decline in immunity is caused by any serious disease, especially chronic ones. Immunity is most severely affected by HIV infection, chronic hepatitis, autoimmune diseases, and malignant neoplasms. There also occurs congenital primary immunodeficiency syndrome, caused by genetic abnormalities.

When there is a mismatch between a person's current immune system capacity and an excessively high viral load, especially in unfavourable environmental conditions, there is a very high risk of getting influenza and other acute respiratory viral infections


This site contains information for medical and pharmaceutical professionals. To view the content, please, confirm that you have the appropriate qualifications

Do not show this message for 30 minutes