Mediterr J Rheumatol 2017;28(1):41-7
A survey to evaluate the implementation of vaccine recommendations among rheumatologists practicing in Greece
Authors Information

1: Pain and Palliative Care Unit, Aretaieio Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

2: Greek Rheumatology Society, Athens, Greece
Objectives: We sought to document the knowledge, perceptions and attitudes toward vaccinations among rheumatologists practicing in Greece. Methods: Rheumatologists practicing in Greece in 2015 were surveyed by questionnaire during the Postgraduate Course of the Greek Rheumatology Society. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS software. Results: One hundred and ten practicing rheumatologists in Greece were surveyed. Response rate was 63%. The majority of responders (82%) inquire patients about vaccination status during rheumatology medical history and most of them specifically advise patients for vaccination uptake (91%). Correct identification of all vaccine types was made by 11% of rheumatologists that took the survey. Ninety-three percent of responders were aware that influenza vaccine should be administered annually, and 94% acknowledged the need for pneumococcal vaccination. Some were not concerned about reduced immunogenicity in patients receiving treatment with methotrexate/TNF inhibitors and rituximab/abatacept (17% and 7%, respectively). A notable percentage overlook that live vaccines are contraindicated during treatment with TNF inhibitors (17%), conventional synthetic DMARDs (61%), or corticosteroids (30%). Conclusions: According to our results, the majority of Greek rheumatologists have implemented a vaccine strategy in their everyday practice. Still, there are several misconceptions that need to be addressed. A significant percentage cannot properly distinguish between inactivated and live vaccines, and many are not knowledgeable of the potential effect of specific DMARDs on the immunogenicity and safety of vaccination.