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Safety and utilization of influenza immunization in children with inflammatory bowel disease

Benchimol EI, Hawken S, Kwong JC, Wilson K. Pediatrics. 2013; 131(6):e1811-20. Epub 2013 May 6.


Objective — Influenza immunization is recommended for children with IBD, however safety concerns may limit uptake. This study assessed whether immunization was associated with adverse events in IBD patients using a population-based database of children with IBD.

Methods — All children <19 years diagnosed with IBD in Ontario, Canada between 1999–2009 were identified using health administrative data, and matched to non-IBD controls. Self-controlled case series (SCCS) analyses determined health services event rates (outpatient visits, hospitalizations and emergency visits) in any 2-week risk period to 180 days post-immunization compared to a no-risk control period. Relative incidence (RI) was calculated for overall and IBD-related events and rates were compared between IBD cases and controls using relative incidence ratios (RIR).

Results — 4916 IBD patients were matched to 21,686 controls. IBD patients were more likely to have received immunization than controls (25.3% vs. 13.2%, P < .001). No increased event rates existed in IBD cases during risk periods (pooled RI 0.95, 95% CI 0.84–1.07), including hospitalizations and emergency visits. There was a slightly higher event rate in IBD cases versus controls for days 3–14 (RIR 1.60, 95% CI 1.05–2.44, P = .03). IBD-related visit rates were lower in risk periods compared to control period (pooled RI 0.81, 95% CI 0.68–0.96).

Conclusions — There was no increase in health services use in the post-vaccine risk period in IBD patients, and there was evidence for a protective effect of influenza immunization against IBD-related health services use. Influenza immunization is safe in children with IBD and should be encouraged to improve poor coverage rates.

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Keywords: Immunization Gastrointestinal disorders Pediatric health

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