The Effect of Offering Pneumococcal Vaccines During Specialty Care on Vaccination Rates in Patients Receiving Immunosuppressive

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Joshua Lindsley
Nathaniel Webb
Ashleigh Workman
Thaddeus Miller
Erica Stockbridge
Jean Charles
Michael Carletti
Stephanie Casperson
Stephen Weis


Pneumococcal Vaccines, Vaccination Coverage, Research Design, Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Vaccination, Population Health, Immunosupprest, Immunosuppression, Quality Improvement, Patient Safety, Preventative Care


Purpose: To determine whether clinician-led immunization education with immediate onsite vaccination availability will increase pneumococcal immunizations during specialty care.

Methods: We designed a controlled before and after QI project quasi-experimental design to retrospectively evaluate the QI effectiveness. The QI setting included two clinics. Clinic #1 was a part of the county hospital system and offered comprehensive care. Clinic #2 was a university clinic that hosted a private practice and a dermatology resident continuity clinic. 201 patients with planned or existing immunosuppressive medication regimens attending an initial or follow-up dermatology visit participated in the study. The intervention included clinician provided verbal immunization recommendations. Patients were then given the opportunity for immediate immunization. The main measure of outcome was pneumococcal immunization status after QI intervention.

Results: Our analysis included 201 patients with planned or existing immunosuppressive medication regimens attending an initial or follow-up dermatology visit (aged 0-64 years [82.1%] ,aged ≥65 years [17.9%]; male [34.3%] female [65.6%%]). Of these, 146 [72.6%] were in the QI group and 55 [27.4%] in the comparison group. Our unadjusted analyses identified no significant group differences in immunization status at initial observation (p=0.329; Table 1). Of the 102 patients in the QI group with no pneumococcal immunizations at initial observation, 80.4% (95% CI: 71.4%, 87.1%) received at least one pneumonia vaccination by the final observation. For the 27 patients in the QI group with partial immunization at project initiation, 85.2% (95% CI: 65.9%, 94.5%) received at least one pneumonia vaccination. Overall, 81.4% (95% CI: 73.6, 87.3) of patients in the QI group without full immunization at initial observation received at least one vaccination by the final observation.

Conclusion: These data demonstrate that immunization coverage in patients on immunosuppressive medications can be markedly improved by clinician recommendation with immediate availability of the pneumococcal vaccine during specialty care. Wider adoption of this model and its adaptation to other immunizations and settings is an important opportunity to reduce vaccine-preventable illness, including COVID-19, and improve population health.


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