Low rates of vaccination in listed kidney transplant candidates

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Abstract

Despite clear consensus and strong recommendations, vaccination rates of kidney transplant (KT) recipients have remained below targets. As vaccination is most effective if it is given prior to transplantation and the initiation of immunosuppression, patients should ideally have their vaccination status assessed and optimized in the pre-transplant period. We performed a retrospective chart review to characterize vaccination rates and factors associated with gaps in vaccination in a single-center population of waitlisted patients being evaluated for kidney transplantation. We evaluated 362 KT patients. Three-quarters were receiving dialysis at the time of evaluation. Immunization rates were low with 35.9% of patients having completed vaccination for Pneumococcus, 55% for influenza, 6.9% for zoster, and 2.5% for tetanus. On multivariable analysis, patients who received other vaccines, including influenza, tetanus, or zoster vaccine (odds ratio [OR] 10.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] 5.65–19.71) were more likely to receive pneumococcal vaccine. Blacks (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.12–0.47) were less likely to receive pneumococcal vaccine compared to whites. Patients on dialysis, and those active on the waiting list were more likely to receive pneumococcal vaccine than other groups (OR 2.81, 95% CI 1.44–5.51, and OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.08–3.14, respectively). We found that the overall immunization rate against common vaccine-preventable infections was low among patients evaluated for kidney transplantation. A significant gap remains between recommendations and vaccine uptake in clinical practice among this high-risk population.

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