Flu Vaccination Safe for Post-Transplant Patients

Vaccination in the year after renal transplant linked to reduced risk of allograft loss, death

THURSDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Influenza vaccination in the first year after renal transplantation is not associated with transplant rejection or loss, according to a study published online April 21 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Frank P. Hurst, M.D., from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and colleagues assessed the relationship between post-renal transplant vaccination and organ rejection. Medicare claims for influenza vaccination and infection were investigated for 51,730 adult primary transplant recipients from 2000 to 2006. Allograft loss and death were included as study outcome measures.

The investigators found that there were claims for influenza vaccination for 9,678 patients (18.7 percent) in the first year after transplant. Factors correlated with vaccination included advanced age, diabetes, later year of transplant, and tacrolimus or mycophenolate at discharge. Vaccination was less common in men, African-American recipients, highly sensitized patients, or those receiving induction immunosuppression or expanded criteria donor kidneys. Vaccination in the first year after transplant was correlated with a reduced risk of allograft loss and death. In the first year after transplant, influenza infection claims were reported by 310 (0.6 percent) recipients,and were not significantly correlated with graft loss, but there was a trend toward death.

"In the first year after renal transplantation influenza vaccination was not associated with acute rejection or allograft loss. Although this study cannot comment on formation of protective antibodies after vaccination, low vaccination rates because of concerns of precipitating allograft rejection appear to be unwarranted," the authors write.

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