The purpose of this study was to evaluate influenza knowledge and behaviors among dialysis patients in Italian hospitals at risk of severe influenza infection and vaccine, as well as to discover predictors of vaccination adherence. Following the 2016/2017 influenza vaccine campaign, a cross-sectional observational research was conducted from January to July 2017. All patients treated at seven big Italian dialysis centers were given the questionnaire. It included influenza vaccine coverage, knowledge about influenza and vaccination, anticipated risk of influenza complications, and influenza uptake recommendations from a general practitioner (GP) and a nephrologist. Nine closed questions were used to assess patients’ knowledge of influenza infection and vaccine: 35.6 percent of respondents correctly answered 6 sentences, 47.5 percent reported that “influenza vaccine can cause influenza,” and 45.7 percent believed that “antibiotics are a correct strategy to treat influenza.” In 39.3 percent and 16.5 percent of patients, respectively, the perceived risks of hospitalization and mortality were minimal. The latest seasonal influenza vaccine was followed by 57.5 percent of people. Age 65, male, consulting TV/radio, seeking information from GP and/or nephrologist were the multivariate predictors of influenza vaccine uptake.
The study indicates that dialysis patients had low adherence to influenza vaccination and a suboptimal level of understanding. To increase influenza vaccine adherence in this at-risk group, many measures, including a stronger collaboration between nephrologists and primary care physicians, should be promoted.