According to a study published online in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, lower rates of hospitalization among dialysis patients was associated with them receiving the high-dose influenza vaccine in the 2016 to 2017 flu season.
A team led by Dana C. Miskulin, MD from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston compared the number of hospitalizations and deaths during 2015 to 2016 and 2016 to 2017 flu seasons by the vaccine type a national dialysis organization administered. There were about 9,000 dialysis patients per season who were compared in the study, and three vaccine types that included standard trivalent, standard quadrivalent, and high-dose trivalent, all stored in medical grade freezers.
When the administrations and resulting hospitalizations were compared in each season, the results were telling. In the 2016 to 2017 flu season, administration of the high-dose trivalent influenza vaccine was associated with 8% fewer first hospitalizations than administrations of the standard dose vaccine. The 2015 to 2016 season did not see fewer hospitalizations among patients who received the high-dose trivalent influenza vaccine, but only 8% of patients received the high-dose vaccine that year while 61% received it the following year.
These results are extremely important for the 30 million U.S. adults living with chronic kidney disease. Those with the disease are at a greater risk of developing a serious illness from an otherwise standard influenza infection. Anyone with kidney disease is always advised to stay up to date on all vaccines, including the seasonal flu vaccine, but these vaccines do not always protect against the many powerful strains of influenza that develop each year.
According to CDC estimates, as many as 710,000 flu-related hospitalizations and nearly 56,000 flu-related deaths have occurred since 2010. To combat the many forms of the flu virus, there are several forms of the flu vaccine, including the ones compared in the dialysis patients. These vaccines must be stored in medical grade freezers, vaccine refrigerator freezers, or medical refrigerator freezers to ensure that they are effective at the time of administration.
The CDC published a guide to recommended flu vaccination levels for this flu season. With the proper research and the initiative to get a flu vaccine, nearly everyone can be protected from the dangerous flu virus.