Dialysis patients who did not receive an influenza vaccine were more likely to be hospitalized than dialysis patients who were vaccinated, according to the results of a large observational study.
Nien-Chen Li, MPH, MS, MA, biostatistician for Fresenius Medical Care North America, and colleagues examined data on more than 150,000 kidney failure patients receiving therapy at their facility, which offers influenza vaccinations at its dialysis centers. The researchers compared the hospitalization rate of patients on dialysis who were vaccinated against influenza with hospitalization rates among unvaccinated dialysis patients during the 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 influenza seasons. They used a negative bionomial regression model to determine the rate ratio for unvaccinated patients.
The data showed that the percentage of vaccinated patients at the dialysis centers steadily increased from 60.1% during the 2013-2014 season to 80.4% during the 2015-2016 season.
“While almost everyone should be vaccinated against influenza, people with kidney failure who are on dialysis are at high risk for complications if they get sick, which is why it is vital they get the [influenza] vaccine every year,” Li said in a press release. “We’re gratified to see that our patients are increasingly choosing to be vaccinated.”
Patients who did not receive an influenza vaccine were 15% more likely to be hospitalized during the first influenza season (RR = 1.15), 19% more likely during the second season (RR = 1.19), and 36% more likely during the third season (RR = 1.36; P < .0001 for all).
According to Li, the research team plans to examine the specific causes for hospitalization to further investigate the link between unvaccinated dialysis patients and increased hospitalization rates.
“These results support the need for focused and dedicated dialysis-facility-based programs that promote influenza vaccination,” Li told Infectious Disease News. “Our findings suggest that influenza vaccination is associated with lower hospitalization and is an important part of preventive care. Further efforts should be undertaken throughout the U.S. to achieve higher vaccination rates in the dialysis population.” – by Stephanie Viguers
Li NC, et al. Abstract FR-OR079. Presented at: American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week; Nov. 15-20, 2016; Chicago, IL.
Disclosure: Li and Maddux are employees of Fresenius Medical Care North America.