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Can J Gastroenterol. 2012 Sep;26(9):593-6.

An audit of influenza vaccination status in adults with inflammatory bowel disease.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, and Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.



Several guidelines recommend influenza vaccination for high-risk patients, including those on immune-suppressing medications (IS).


To assess the vaccination status and immunization history of an outpatient inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) population for H1N1 and seasonal influenza.


Among 250 patients, 104 (41.6%) had been immunized against H1N1 and 62 (24.8%) against seasonal influenza, and 158 (63.2%) were taking IS (azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, infliximab, adalimumab, methotrexate, cyclosporine or prednisone). Among subjects on IS, the presence of comorbidities warranting vaccination was associated with higher likelihood of H1N1 immunization (62.5% versus 35.8%; P=0.022) but not of seasonal influenza vaccination (25.0% versus 17.2%; P=0.392). Among patients without comorbidities warranting vaccination, IS was associated with a decreased likelihood of vaccination against seasonal influenza (17.2% versus 30.7%; P=0.036) but not H1N1 (35.8% versus 41.3%; P=0.46). The frequency of H1N1 vaccination was significantly higher among patients who visited a general practitioner at least once yearly (45.7% versus 20%; P=0.0027), with a similar trend for seasonal influenza vaccination (27.1% versus 12.5%; P=0.073). Among 91 patients on IS who declined vaccination, 39.6% reported fear of immediate side effects, 29.7% reported concerns about developing serious medical complications, 15.4% reported concerns about activating IBD and 15.4% were not aware that vaccination was indicated.


Current strategies for vaccinating IBD patients on IS are inadequate. Primary care provider education, incentive programs and regular primary care contact may improve immunization uptake.

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