Sickle Cell Patients’ Rate of Influenza Vaccination & Hospitalization Higher Than Those Without the Disease

By Lou Portero - Last Updated: January 6, 2022

Sickle cell patients experience higher rates of hospitalization for influenza and pneumonia during flu season, according to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) report published online in the journal Pediatric Blood & Cancer.

Amanda Payne and colleagues at the CDC examined influenza coverage for six flu seasons (2009-2015) using Medicaid claims from several states and compared Medicaid enrollees hospitalized from influenza-related morbidity with sickle cell disease (SCD) to those without SCD. The study was a series of cross-sectional analyses assessed by seasons.

The study found that people with sickle cell disease were 20 to 24 times more likely to be hospitalized for influenza-related complications than people without sickle cell disease, despite a higher vaccination rate (1.3 to 1.6 times higher than people without sickle cell disease). They also found that hospitalization due to acute chest syndrome/pneumonia was 18-29 times more in these patients. Children aged 0-9 years were found to have the highest influenza-related vaccination rates.

“Although Medicaid enrollees with SCD had 1.3 to 1.6 times higher influenza vaccination coverage compared with enrollees without SCD, they were 18 to 42 times more likely to be hospitalized due to complications related to influenza or ACS/pneumonia,” the authors write. “The findings confirm that influenza poses a substantial risk for morbidity among people living with SCD.”


Source: pediatric blood & cancer.

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