Issue: 2013 > November > original article

Influenza vaccination coverage in patients treated with chemotherapy: current clinical practice

M.L. Wumkes, A.M.T. van der Velden, A.W.G. van der Velden, J.M.L. Stouthard, M.R. Nijziel, M. Westerman, A. Beeker, A. Meerveld-Eggink, G.T. Rijkers D.H. Biesma


Background: Influenza virus vaccination is recommended
for patients treated with chemotherapy. Little is known
about vaccination coverage in these patients. Methods: Vaccination coverage in the Netherlands was analysed by questionnaires completed by general practitioners, within a catchment area of 1.3 million people, in the period 2010-2011. Results: Of 433 eligible adult patients treated with chemotherapy for breast or colorectal cancer, 144 patients gave permission for us to approach their general practitioner with a questionnaire. General practitioners were asked about vaccination coverage, awareness of recommendations and their opinion about the responsibility for vaccination. We received 114 (79%)
completed questionnaires. Sixty-seven out of 114 patients (59%) were vaccinated against influenza. Forty-four (66%) of these patients also had an indication for vaccination based on age (age ≥60 years). According to 48% of the general practitioners, the responsibility for vaccination belongs to the competence of the treating medical oncologist. Conclusion: Influenza vaccination coverage is limited to 59% of patients treated with chemotherapy. Guidelines for responsibility (general practitioner or medical oncologist) may increase the vaccination rate of cancer patients.