Influenza (i.e. “flu”) and pneumococcal vaccinations positively impact the outcomes of myeloma patients. This is the central conclusion in the article Rates of Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccination and Correlation with Survival in Multiple Myeloma (MM) Patients: Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccination in MM, published in Clinical Lymphoma, Myeloma and Leukaemia.
The article outlines an analysis of data gathered from INSIGHT-MM, a global real-world study involving myeloma patients, looking at influenza and pneumococcal vaccination rates of patients and the impact this had on their outcomes.
Researchers looked at overall influenza and pneumococcal vaccine rates. They then explored the association between vaccine status and overall survival and other factors such as infection-related deaths, hospital visits and admissions. They were able to analyse the vaccination status of 4307 patients; 2543 with influenza vaccine status and 2500 with pneumococcal vaccine status. Most patients were from the US or Europe, with a smaller number from Latin America and Asia.
Headline findings from the analysis were:
- Vaccination rates for influenza and pneumococcal vaccination are low and variable from region to region.
- Patient deaths due to infections were lower among patients who had the influenza vaccine in the last two years versus those that had not (9.8% vs 15.3%)
- Patient deaths due to infections were significantly lower in patients who had a pneumococcal vaccine in the past 5 years versus those who had not (9.9% vs 18.0%)
When adjusted for other factors (such as risk status, frailty etc.), patient receipt of the influenza vaccine in the past two years and pneumococcal vaccine in the past five years improved overall survival rates.
Taking all these factors into account, the study shows that vaccination is very important for myeloma patients and should be encouraged. If you are a myeloma patient with questions about the vaccinations you are eligible for and should have, please ensure you speak to your haematologist or wider medical team.
The study also recommended that information on vaccination status for myeloma patients should be recorded in future clinical trials as it may affect patient survival.