Influenza vaccination is safe and effective for renal transplant patients, according to European researchers.


Investigators at University Hospital Gasthuisberg in Leuven, Belgium, and Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, compared 165 renal transplant recipients and 41 healthy volunteers who were vaccinated with a standard trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine.

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The researchers defined seroprotection (SP) and seroreponse (SR) as a titer of 40 and higher and a fourfold rise in hemagglutination-inhibiting (HI) antibody titer, respectively. The two groups had similar SR rates, according to a report in the American Journal of Transplantation (2008;8:332-337). Post-vaccination SP rates among the transplant recipients were 92.7%, 78.7%, and 82.9% for A/H1N1, A/HcN2, and B, respectively. 


Patients receiving mycophenolate mofetil had a 2.6 to five times lower SR, but they showed good post-vaccination SP rates. A boost dose did not increase SP or SR rates. The vaccinations did not affect allograft function nor did they cause rejection.

A recent study conducted at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., found that influenza vaccination was about 25% less effective in renal transplant patients compared with healthy controls, but researchers said they should still receive the vaccine.