Influenza vaccine uptake amongst in-patients in acute medical unit of a tertiary care Irish hospital

Sir,

        Influenza vaccination uptake is promoted and publicized widely in the Republic of Ireland by the Health Service Executive (HSE) 1. One thousand and nine confirmed influenza cases were hospitalized in 2014/15 influenza season2.  We conducted an audit in our hospital to assess the rate of uptake of influenza vaccination in the last season by vaccine-recommended patient groups, admitted to the acute medical unit (AMU). After approval from hospital audit committee, data was prospectively collected on 86 consecutive patients admitted to AMU of St. Vincent’s University Hospital from 20th March, 2016 to 31st March, 2016 under care of AMU consultants. Data was collected from clinical notes and from patient interview within 24 hours of admission on a questionnaire. The HSE guidelines were used to identify patients who should have received the flu vaccination1.  Data was collected on clinical risk categories and whether patients took vaccination or not. If patients had not taken vaccination, the reason for same was recorded and their intention for getting vaccination in future was also recorded. It was also determined for unvaccinated patients if they ever had flu vaccination. Data was analysed using SPSS.

    Out of the total 86 patients, 70 (81.4%) were in the recommended categories for influenza immunisation. Majority of the patients were female 52 (60.5%). Mean age was 64.5 years (Range 22 years to 93 years). The commonest vaccine-recommended category was being aged 65 and over in 48 (68.5%). The next commonest vaccine-recommended category was respiratory disease n=21 (30%), followed by Diabetes Mellitus n=11(15.7%). 43 (61.4%) had taken vaccination out of total 70 patients in whom vaccine was recommended.

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The commonest reason for not taking vaccination although recommended was lack of awareness in 11 (42.3%) (Table 1). Out of those who did not take flu vaccination in spite of recommendation (n=26), 13 (50%) had never taken flu vaccination in life, while 6 (23.07%) out of those who did not take vaccination were not willing to take vaccination even in the future.

    Vaccine uptake rate of 61.4% underlines the need for increase in vaccination up take in Ireland.  Lack of awareness about need for vaccination was the most frequent reason for not taking vaccination. A quarter of patients who had not taken vaccine were not willing to take vaccination even in the future which signifies need for addressing concerns of such patients in future. We hope to repeat our audit on a larger number of patients at the start of next flu season coupled with giving patients the option of being vaccinated at the time of audit and data collection. That will increase awareness of patients about the need for vaccination for their individual medical conditions and would also increase the rate of uptake of flu vaccination overall.

Sarmad Waqas, Mary O’Callaghan, Emily Bury, Orla Collins, Emer Kelly, Emmet McGrath

Acute Medical Unit, St. Vincent’s University Hospital; Elm Park, Dublin 4, Republic of Ireland.

Conflicts of Interest: No conflicts present

Corresponding Author:

Dr. Sarmad Waqas

Specialist Registrar in General Medicine and Infectious Diseases

Acute Medical Unit, St. Vincent’s University Hospital; Elm Park, Dublin 4, Republic of Ireland.

Email: sarmadw234@gmail.com

Fax: +353 12213597

References:

  1. National Immunisation Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Immunisation guidelines 2013. [Cited 15 Feb 2016]; Available from: http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/hcpinfo/guidelines/chapter11.pdf.
  2. Health Protection Surveillance Centre. Annual Epidemiological Report 2014. [Cited 27 July 2016]; Available from: http://www.hpsc.ie/A-Z/Respiratory/Influenza/SeasonalInfluenza/Surveillance/InfluenzaSurveillanceReports/SeasonSummaries/File, 15645, en.pdf.

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