Send to

Choose Destination
Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2011 Feb;108(7):105-11. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2011.0105. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Vaccination coverage in immunosuppressed patients: results of a regional health services research study.

Author information




Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases are at elevated risk of infections that can be prevented by vaccination. This elevated risk is due not just to these patients' primary illnesses, but also to the immunosuppressive treatment that they often receive. We studied the vaccination rate in a random sample of patients with two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), namely, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. In particular, we asked unvaccinated patients why they had re-fused the vaccine.


From April to September 2009, we gave a 38-item questionnaire to 203 consecutive patients with IBD (57% with Crohn's disease, 63% female, median age 36 years) who had not received vaccination counseling for at least one year, and inspected the patients' vaccination cards. We compared the findings to the current recommendations of the German Federal Standing Committee on Vaccination (Ständige Impfkommission).


83% of the patients had a vaccination card. Substantial deficiencies in vaccination were found. Only 67% of the patients had been immunized against tetanus in the previous 10 years, and only 21% against pertussis. Only 28% were vaccinated against seasonal influenza in 2008, and only 9% had ever received anti-pneumococcal vaccine. A subgroup analysis in which we compared 39 patients taking TNF-blockers to 67 patients who never had any type of immunosuppressive treatment revealed no difference in vaccination rates. 80% of all patients said they were willing to receive all of the officially recommended vaccinations. 22% of all patients said they avoided vaccinations for fear of side effects, while 15% said they did so because their immune system was supposedly "not intact", and 9% because they feared vaccination would worsen their IBD.


In this random sample, the vaccination rate fell far behind the recommendations. In particular, there was a marked discrepancy between patients' willingness to be vaccinated and the actual provision of vaccination. These findings imply that physicians need to be more aware of the possibly inadequate vaccination state of their immunosuppressed patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Deutsches Aerzteblatt International Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center