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Influenza Vaccine Safe for Patients in Hospital for Surgery

Findings show it won’t increase complications

TUESDAY, March 15, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Surgery patients don’t have an increased risk for complications if they receive an influenza vaccine while in the hospital, according to a study published online March 15 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Sara Tartof, Ph.D., from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation in Pasadena, and colleagues examined the medical records of 6,420 surgery patients. They all received a flu vaccine during their hospital stay in the 2010 to 2013 flu seasons.

The researchers compared those who got a flu vaccine with 36,357 surgery patients who were vaccinated before or after being in the hospital, or who weren’t vaccinated for flu. Those receiving a flu vaccine while in the hospital didn’t have higher rates of emergency department visits or hospital readmissions, fever, or laboratory tests for infections in the weeks after leaving the hospital than those who were not vaccinated.

“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,” Tartof said in a Kaiser news release. “There has 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.”

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