PURPOSE: Seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended for lung transplant recipients (LTRs) in order to prevent complications of infection such as acute allograft rejection. Yearly vaccination is recommended by the attending physicians and covered by the health care insurance. Vaccination is voluntary. For LTRs systematic assessments of influenza vaccination uptake and reasons for non-vaccination are scarce. The aim of this study is to assess vaccination uptake and reasons for non-vaccination among LTRs.
METHODS: All LTRs were offered to be vaccinated during follow-up visits on a voluntary basis. Transient contraindications (signs of infection) lead commonly to postponement of vaccination. Patients without contraindications not volunteering for vaccination were asked to fill in a widely used questionnaire assessing reasons for non-vaccination.
RESULTS: Of 173 eligible LTRs 145 (84%) were vaccinated in a 7-month period. Non-vaccination was documented in 28 LTRs (15 male). The most frequent underlying diseases were cystic fibrosis (43%) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (25%). Anticoagulation was documented in 28%. The most frequent reasons for non-vaccination were in descending order: (1) belief, that one is unlikely to be affected by influenza (2) recurring signs of infection or inflammation not allowing vaccination, and (3) belief, that the vaccination is not sufficiently effective. A large number of unsolicited answers were given to explain reasons for non-vaccination.
CONCLUSIONS: Vaccination uptake among LTRs was high in comparison to published data for other solid organ transplant recipients. Reasons for non-vaccination were partly due to beliefs related to vaccination effectiveness. A considerable number of LTRs were not vaccinated despite lack of clear contraindications during the vaccination period.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Improving knowledge about vaccine effectiveness among LTRs and physicians may lead to improved seasonal influenza vaccination uptake among LTR.
DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Mace Schuurmans, Esther Perret, Erich Russi, Annette Boehler
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