A moderate 25.3% rate of influenza vaccination was found in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases, and a direct recommendation from physicians had the greatest effect on patients’ positive vaccination status, according to a study published in Vaccine.

This cross-sectional study sought to evaluate the rate of influenza vaccinations and potential predictors for vaccination status for patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Patients visiting the outpatient clinic of the Division for Rheumatology at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria from July to October 2017 were asked to complete a questionnaire for the study, and 490 patients were ultimately included for analysis.

These patients showed an influenza vaccination rate of 25.3% (n=124; 95% CI, 21.4-29.2), with no significant difference in rates between genders (24.5% of male patients and 25.6% of female patients). A significant association was found between age and influenza vaccination rate, with patients older than 70 years showing a 41.1% positive vaccination status compared with only 12.2% in the 18 to 43 age group (odds ratio [OR], 5.0; 95% CI, 2.4-10.4).

Among patients who received a direct vaccination recommendation from their general practitioner, 56.8% were vaccinated, while only 15.3% of those who did not receive a recommendation from their general practitioner were vaccinated. Recommendations from rheumatologists made patients 9 times more likely to get vaccinated (influenza vaccination rate, 61.5% vs 19.1%; adjusted OR, 9.0; 95% CI, 4.9-16.5). None of the 7 patients who were advised by their physicians to avoid influenza vaccination received a vaccination.


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Study investigators state that “physicians can significantly influence the vaccination [behavior] of their patients; this imposes the challenge upon the attending physicians to use this influence more effectively for the benefit of their patients.”

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Reference

Harrison N, Poeppl W, Miksch M, et al. Predictors for influenza vaccine acceptance among patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases [published online July 3, 2018]. Vaccine.  doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.06.065