Influenza Season Triggers Pneumococcal Vaccination

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES

To investigate the frequency with which influenza and pneumococcal vaccines are administered alone and together.

DESIGN

Retrospective review.

SETTING

Marshall University internal medicine practice, Huntington, West Virginia.

PARTICIPANTS

All patients aged 65 and older seen in the practice from 1999 through 2005 who received pneumococcal or influenza vaccine.

MEASUREMENTS

Billing records were reviewed for administration of pneumococcal and influenza vaccines to Medicare beneficiaries, and rates of administration of these vaccines given alone and together were calculated.

RESULTS

Nine hundred sixty-nine doses of pneumococcal vaccine were administered. Of these, 796 (82%) were administered during the fall and winter. Three hundred fifty-six (45%) pneumococcal vaccinees received it together with influenza vaccine. During 2001 and 2005, when influenza vaccine supply was limited, the rate of pneumococcal vaccine administered together with influenza vaccine declined sharply. Nonetheless, the rate of pneumococcal vaccination remained relatively stable because of an increase in the rate of vaccine administered alone.

CONCLUSION

Four-fifths of pneumococcal vaccine was administered in the fall and winter, and approximately half was given together with influenza vaccine. When influenza vaccine was in limited supply, physicians continued to vaccinate with pneumococcal vaccine alone. These findings suggest that the imminent influenza season provides the trigger for physicians to prescribe pneumococcal vaccine. Physicians should be reminded that pneumococcal vaccine can be administered any time of year.

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