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Birgitta Weltermann, Anna Herwig, Dorothea Dehnen, Kerstin Herzer
(Department for General Medicine, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany)
Ann Transplant 2016; 21:200-207
Studies have documented deficits of pneumococcal and other vaccinations in kidney and lung transplant patients, but the vaccination status of liver transplant (LT) recipients is unknown. This cross-sectional study investigated the prevalence of immunizations among LT patients at a large university medical center compared to a representative general population sample.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: In 2014, all LT patients (>18 years of age) were asked for their vaccination documents. The immunization rates for pneumococcal and other vaccine-preventable diseases were calculated. LT patients’ rates for tetanus, diphtheria, and polio vaccinations were compared to a national reference group. Because these vaccinations are recommended for both groups, pneumococcal and influenza vaccination rates of LT patients were compared to those of seniors (>65 years of age) from a national sample.
RESULTS: We found that 444 of 581 LT patients (76.4%) had evaluable vaccination documents. Only 60% of the patients received at least 1 pneumococcal vaccination. Insufficient immunization rates (≥1 vaccination/lifetime prevalence) were also documented for other vaccine-preventable diseases: hepatitis B 64%, hepatitis A 48%, tetanus 87%, diphtheria 79%, polio 72%, pertussis 38%, and seasonal influenza (the preceding season) 51%. Only 0.7% (n=3) of LT patients had received all vaccinations as recommended. Similar deficits were documented in the national sample: tetanus 96%, diphtheria 82%, polio 86%, and pertussis 35%. LT patients received pneumococcal vaccines twice as frequently compared to seniors (60% vs. 31%), while influenza vaccination rates were comparable (51% vs. 45%).
CONCLUSIONS: In agreement with studies addressing other solid organ transplant recipients, vaccination coverage of LT patients and the general population needs to be improved.