Influenza vaccination for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Implications for pharmacists

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Influenza virus is responsible for substantial morbidity and mortality. Specific populations are at higher risk for exacerbations from influenza virus, such as patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Influenza vaccination coverage among COPD patients is low. Pharmacists can improve influenza vaccination among COPD patients by recognizing factors that influence vaccination and addressing these factors.


To (1) determine the recent influenza vaccination coverage among patients with COPD, (2) identify factors that were associated with immunization, and (3) interpret the results based upon Andersen's healthcare utilization model.


The 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) was accessed for the study. Among respondents age ≥ 25 years with COPD, presence of influenza vaccination was captured along with demographic, provider, insurance, and clinical variables. Weighted multiple logistic regression was used to identify significant factors associated with receiving influenza vaccination. The findings were interpreted according to predisposing, enabling, and need factors relevant to Anderson's model.


Influenza vaccination rate was 53% among COPD patients. Older age was a significant predisposing factor that increased vaccination (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.4; 95% CI:2.02–2.88). Predisposing factors that decreased vaccination were being Black or Hispanic (AOR = 0.72, 95% CI:0.59–0.86, and AOR = 0.78, 95% CI:0.61–0.98 respectively), and being a non smoker (former and never smokers had higher vaccination rates [AOR = 1.53, 95% CI = 1.3–1.72, and AOR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.19–1.55 respectively]). Significant enabling factors included having health insurance (AOR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.37–2.06), a primary physician (AOR = 1.63, 95% CI = 1.30–2.02), and the ability to see a physician regardless of cost (AOR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.17–1.52). Significant need factors included the presence of comorbidities such as asthma (AOR = 1.18, 95% CI = 1.1–1.3), or diabetes (AOR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.20–1.53), activity limitation (AOR = 1.16, 95% CI = 1.04–1.29), and having the last medical checkup within less than one year (AOR = 1.49, 95% CI = 1.31–1.70).


Influenza vaccination coverage among COPD patients is far below the Healthy People 2020 national goal. Several predisposing, enabling, and need factors influenced vaccination rate among COPD patients. Pharmacists can improve vaccination rate among COPD patients by recognizing these influencing factors and by acting as advocates, counselors, and administrators of influenza vaccine. Ultimately, with the collaborative efforts of other healthcare providers and public health initiatives, pharmacists can help achieve Healthy People 2020 objectives related to influenza vaccination.

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