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Revaccination of bone marrow transplant recipients: a review of current practices in Australia

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Abstract Background:

Vaccination following bone marrow transplant (BMT) is an important part of ongoing care and disease prevention. The aim of the study was to investigate vaccination procedures in BMT recipients and identify what systems are in place throughout Australia to remind and alert patients concerning their need for vaccination. Methods:

Questionnaires were sent to haematologists managing BMT recipients in Australia to examine post-BMT vaccination practices in hospitals and outpatient clinics. Questionnaires were also sent to BMT recipients in New South Wales, who had their transplants (either allogeneic or autologous) in the past 5 years to determine what vaccinations they had received and what vaccination reminder systems had been used. Results:

Vaccine recommendations and practices by BMT physicians showed little consensus. They also differed greatly between autologous and allogeneic transplant recipients. Only just more than half of the physicians had an effective reminder system in place and only 12 of 34 patients had received vaccination reminders. One-third of all patients were not aware of any need for revaccination. Conclusion:

The disparity in physician practice regarding revaccination is significant and may reflect the lack of data available regarding efficacy of revaccination in this setting and/or a lack of knowledge about recommendations. Because of this, a national immunization schedule for post-BMT patients founded on evidence-based studies is required to provide optimal patient care. The lack of effective follow up and reminder systems ensuring patient completion of vaccination schedules is also an area needing improvement.
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Keywords: allogenic; autologous; bone marrow transplant; vaccination

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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