Awareness of Importance of Vaccination in Patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis(AS).


Azhar Abbas, Paul Ryan , Gillian Fitzgerald . Gaye Cunnane,Richard Conway, Michelle Doran, Finbar O Shea


Department of Rheumatology St.James Hospital Dublin


Patients rheumatic diseases are at increased risk of dying from pulmonary infections1-3.EULAR strongly recommends inactivated influenza and pneumococcal vaccination for all patients with AIIRD4.


To establish the awareness of, and attitude towards, vaccinations in a cohort of patients with a diagnosis of AS.


15 questions were asked to patients attending an AS clinic in St.James Hospital over a 3 month period.Questions related to duration of AS diagnosis, current treatments, patient awareness and uptake of influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations, and respiratory illness and hospitalisation history since time of diagnosis with AS. Responses were compiled on a proforma.


The average age of respondents was 48.4 years. At the time of survey, 46.67% patients were on a biologic agent. Only 3.33% was being treated with methotrexate in addition to a biologic agent.
A total of 83.33% and 46.66% had heard of the influenza vaccination and pneumococcal vaccine respectively, with only 63.33% being aware of where they could receive these vaccines. When asked if anyone had mentioned vaccination at any point during their treatment for AS, only 36.66%, with 43.33% reporting negatively and 20% unable to remember
Only 43.33% patients had received the influenza vaccine in the past year, and only 16.66% had received the pneumococcal vaccine in the past 5 years.
In terms of attitudes towards vaccination in general , 43.33% patients felt that vaccination was safe; 43.33% said they would get vaccinated on their doctor’s advice; 6.66% said they would get vaccinated if their medical card or insurance covered the cost; 26.66% offered alternative responses or no response.
Since their diagnosis, 46.66% said that they had suffered infection(s). The most common infection reported was pneumonia (42.86%), flu (35.71%), shingles (21.43%), and other (35.71%). Only 2 patients reported that they were admitted to hospital with infections.


Awareness and uptake of vaccinations against influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia was poor amongst patients with AS in our hospital. The most common reason cited for lack of awareness and uptake of these vaccines was a lack of patient education by health care professionals. Attitudes towards vaccination were generally very positive.

1.Wolfe F, Mitchell DM, Sibley, et al