Butler AM, Layton JB, Dharnidharka VR, Sahrmann J, Seamans MJ, Weber DJ, McGrath L. Comparative effectiveness of high-dose versus standard-dose influenza vaccine among patients receiving maintenance hemodialysis. Am J Kidney Dis. 2020 Jan;75(1):72-83. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2019.05.018.

RATIONALE & OBJECTIVE: Studies of patients on maintenance dialysis therapy suggest that standard-dose influenza vaccine (SDV) may not prevent influenza-related outcomes. Little is known about the comparative effectiveness of SDV versus high-dose influenza vaccine (HDV) in this population.

Cohort study using data from the US Renal Data System.

SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: 507,552 adults undergoing in-center maintenance hemodialysis between the 2010 to 2011 and 2014 to 2015 influenza seasons.


OUTCOMES: All-cause mortality, hospitalization due to influenza or pneumonia, and influenza-like illness during the influenza season.

ANALYTIC APPROACH: Patients were eligible for inclusion in multiple yearly cohorts; thus, our unit of analysis was the influenza patient-season. To examine the relationship between vaccine dose and effectiveness outcomes, we estimated risk differences and risk ratios using propensity score weighting of Kaplan-Meier functions, accounting for a wide range of patient- and facility-level characteristics. For nonmortality outcomes, we used competing-risk methods to account for the high mortality rate in the dialysis population.

RESULTS: Within 225,215 influenza patient-seasons among adults 65 years and older, 97.4% received SDV and 2.6% received HDV. We observed similar risk estimates for HDV and SDV recipients for mortality (risk difference, -0.08%; 95% CI, -0.85% to 0.80%), hospitalization due to influenza or pneumonia (risk difference, 0.15%; 95% CI, -0.69% to 0.93%), and influenza-like illness (risk difference, 0.00%; 95% CI, -1.50% to 1.08%). Our findings were similar among adults younger than 65 years, as well as within other subgroups defined by influenza season, age group, dialysis vintage, month of influenza vaccination, and vaccine valence.

Residual confounding and outcome misclassification.

CONCLUSIONS: The HDV does not appear to provide additional protection beyond the SDV against all-cause mortality or influenza-related outcomes for adults undergoing hemodialysis. The additional cost and side effects associated with HDV should be considered when offering this vaccine. Future studies of HDV and other influenza vaccine strategies are warranted.

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