Background: Influenza virus vaccination is recommended for patients treated with chemotherapy. Little is known about vaccination coverage in these patients. Methods: Vaccination coverage in the Netherlands was analysed by questionnaires completed by general practitioners, within a catchment area of 1.3 million people, in the period 2010-2011. Results: Of 433 eligible adult patients treated with chemotherapy for breast or colorectal cancer, 144 patients gave permission for us to approach their general practitioner with a questionnaire. General practitioners were asked about vaccination coverage, awareness of recommendations and their opinion about the responsibility for vaccination. We received 114 (79%) completed questionnaires. Sixty-seven out of 114 patients (59%) were vaccinated against influenza. Forty-four (66%) of these patients also had an indication for vaccination based on age (age ≥60 years). According to 48% of the general practitioners, the responsibility for vaccination belongs to the competence of the treating medical oncologist. Conclusion: Influenza vaccination coverage is limited to 59% of patients treated with chemotherapy. Guidelines for responsibility (general practitioner or medical oncologist) may increase the vaccination rate of cancer patients.

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The Netherlands Journal of Medicine

Wumkes, M., van der Velden, A. M. T., van der Velden, A. W. G., Stouthard, J., Nijziel, M., Westerman, M., … Biesma, D. (2013). Influenza vaccination coverage in patients treated with chemotherapy: Current clinical practice. The Netherlands Journal of Medicine, 71(9), 472–477. Retrieved from