A recent study suggests that there is no additional risk to surgical patients when they receive the seasonal influenza vaccine while they are still staying at the hospital.
The results showed that these patients did not experience any subsequent hospitalizations or any increased chance of emergency department visits within the week after they were discharged and received the flu vaccine. Surgical patients without the vaccine showed the same results.
The results also suggested that when the unvaccinated surgical patients were compared to the vaccinated surgical patients, there was not any additional risks of developing fevers. These same unvaccinated surgical patients also did not show a rise in laboratory tests to check for an infection.
"Historically, there has been concern among surgeons that vaccinating patients while they are in the hospital can contribute to increased risk of vaccine-related fever or muscle pain, which might be incorrectly attributed to surgical complications," Dr. Sara Y. Tartof, study lead author, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation, said. "There have been no data to support that concern. In fact, our study findings show hospital stays are a fine time to vaccinate patients, particularly those who are older and at high risk of complications due to the flu."
The study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente, is available in the Annals of Internal Medicine.