Introduction Guidelines for the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) recommend using influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations to mitigate infection risk. The level of adherence to these guidelines is not well known in the UK. The aims of this study were to describe the uptake of influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations in patients with RA in the UK, to compare the characteristics of those vaccinated to those not vaccinated and to compare vaccination rates across regions of the UK. Methods A retrospective cohort study of adults diagnosed with incident RA and treated with non-biologic immunosuppressive therapy, using data from a large primary care database. For the influenza vaccination, patients were considered unvaccinated on 1st September each year and upon vaccination their status changed to vaccinated. For pneumococcal vaccination, patients were considered vaccinated after their first vaccination until the end of follow-up. Patients were stratified by age 65 at the start of follow-up, given differences in vaccination guidelines for the general population. Results Overall (N = 15,724), 80% patients received at least one influenza vaccination, and 50% patients received a pneumococcal vaccination, during follow-up (mean 5.3 years). Of those aged below 65 years (N = 9,969), 73% patients had received at least one influenza vaccination, and 43% patients received at least one pneumococcal vaccination. Of those aged over65 years (N = 5,755), 91% patients received at least one influenza vaccination, and 61% patients had received at least one pneumococcal vaccination. Those vaccinated were older, had more comorbidity and visited the GP more often. Regional differences in vaccination rates were seen with the highest rates in Northern Ireland, and the lowest rates in London. Conclusions One in five patients received no influenza vaccinations and one in two patients received no pneumonia vaccine over five years of follow-up. There remains significant scope to improve uptake of vaccinations in patients with RA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences