Both the Northern and the Southern Hemisphere annual WHO influenza vaccine recommendations are designed to ensure vaccine delivery before the winter-time peak of viral circulation in each hemisphere. However, influenza seasonal patterns are highly diverse in tropical countries and may be out of phase with the WHO recommendations for their respective hemisphere. We modelled the peak timing of influenza activity for 125 countries using laboratory-based surveillance data from the WHO’s FLUNET database and compared it with the influenza hemispheric recommendations in place. Influenza vaccine recommendations for respectively 25% and 39% of the Northern and Southern Hemisphere countries were out of phase with peak influenza circulation in their corresponding hemisphere (62% and 53%, respectively, when the analysis was limited to the 52 countries in the tropical belt). These results indicate that routine influenza immunization efforts should be closely tailored to local patterns of viral circulation, rather than a country’s hemispheric position.
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Alonso, W.J., Yu, C., Viboud, C., Richard, S.A., Schuck-Paim, C., Simonsen, L....Miller, M.A. (2015). A global map of hemispheric influenza vaccine recommendations based on local patterns of viral circulation. Scientific Reports, 5:17214. doi:10.1038/srep17214