BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: : Influenza is a considerable health problem all over the world. Vaccination is the most important measure for preventing influenza and reducing morbidity and mortality. The aims of this study were to assess influenza vaccination coverage from 2001 to 2007 in Germany, to understand motivations and barriers to vaccination, and to identify vaccination intentions for season 2007/08. METHODS: : In representative household surveys, 12,039 telephone interviews with individuals aged >/= 14 years were conducted between 2001 and 2007. Essentially the same questionnaire was used in all seasons. RESULTS: : In season 2006/07, the overall influenza vaccination coverage rate dropped from 32.5% in the previous season to 27.4%. In the elderly (>/= 60 years), the rate decreased from 51.6% to 44.7% and the odds ratio of being vaccinated, compared to those not belonging to a high-risk group, remained < 5. Chronically ill elderly persons had an odds ratio of vaccination of 7, while younger chronically ill persons and health-care workers had odds ratios of about 2. Perceiving influenza as a serious illness was the most frequent reason for getting vaccinated. 14% of those vaccinated in 2006/07 indicated the threat of avian flu as a reason. The main reason for not getting vaccinated was thinking not to be likely to catch the flu. A recommendation by the family doctor/nurse was perceived as the major encouraging factor for vaccination. A total of 44.7% of the respondents intended to get vaccinated against influenza in 2007/08. CONCLUSION: : A trend of increasing vaccination rates was observed from 2001 to 2006 in Germany, but the rates dipped by almost a sixth after 2005/06. The loss of media interest in the threat of avian influenza after February 2006 and stalling reimbursement programs may have contributed to the recent drop in vaccination rates.