Vaccination of chemotherapy patients--effect of guideline implementation.
Toleman MS., Herbert K., McCarthy N., Church DN.
PURPOSE: Despite substantial morbidity and mortality of influenza and pneumococcal infections in cancer patients treated with chemotherapy, vaccination against both illnesses is infrequent. We evaluated the impact of implementation of clinical guidelines on vaccination of chemotherapy patients treated in our institute. METHODS: We performed a prospective audit before (2012) and after (2013-2014) the introduction of immunisation guidelines for chemotherapy patients in a UK tertiary cancer centre. RESULTS: Guideline implementation was associated with a significant increase in the rate of pneumococcal vaccination compared to the 2012 baseline (47 vs. 25 %, P = 0.0018), though this was not sustained the following year (34 %, P = 0.13, vs. baseline). Influenza vaccine coverage was high (∼ 70 %) throughout. There was a marked disparity between patients aged ≤ 65 and those >65 years in the rate of pneumococcal vaccination in both 2013 and 2014 (38 vs. 68 % and 17 vs. 53 %, respectively, both P < 0.001), and, to a lesser extent, in the rate of influenza vaccination in the same period (64 vs. 82 %, P < 0.1, and 63 vs. 85 %, P = 0.009, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of clinical vaccine guidelines was associated with a significant increase in pneumococcal vaccination, though continued effort appears required to deliver persistent improvement. Initiatives to increase vaccination uptake in patients aged ≤ 65 are merited.