The adaptive immune response to influenza virus infection is multifaceted and complex, involving antibody and cellular responses at both systemic and mucosal levels. Immune responses to natural infection with influenza virus in humans are relatively broad and long-lived, but influenza viruses can escape from these responses over time owing to their high mutation rates and antigenic flexibility. Vaccines are the best available countermeasure against infection, but vaccine effectiveness is low compared with other viral vaccines, and the induced immune response is narrow and short-lived. Furthermore, inactivated influenza virus vaccines focus on the induction of systemic IgG responses but do not effectively induce mucosal IgA responses. Here, I review the differences between natural infection and vaccination in terms of the antibody responses they induce and how these responses protect against future infection. A better understanding of how natural infection induces broad and long-lived immune responses will be key to developing next-generation influenza virus vaccines.