Influenza is an important contributor to population and individual morbidity and mortality. The current influenza pandemic with novel H1N1 has highlighted the need for health care professionals to better understand the processes involved in creating influenza vaccines, both for pandemic as well as for seasonal influenza. This review presents an overview of influenza-related topics to help meet this need and includes a discussion of the burden of disease, virology, epidemiology, viral surveillance, and vaccine strain selection. We then present an overview of influenza vaccine-related topics, including vaccine production, vaccine efficacy and effectiveness, influenza vaccine misperceptions, and populations that are recommended to receive vaccination. English-language articles in PubMed published between January 1, 1970, and October 7, 2009, were searched using key words human influenza, influenza vaccines, influenza A, and influenza B.
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