The question of whether immunocompromised persons, who require protection by vaccination more than most, are indeed protected—i.e., whether they may have been properly vaccinated—is undoubtedly important. Equally as important is the question of whether immunocompromised persons are able to respond to vaccination at all with an adequate or at least sufficient reaction in order to benefit from such a medical measure.
The data presented in the article (1) are not convincing. The long discussion is based only on data collections of opinion polls. Furthermore, the findings given in Tables 3, 4, and 5 are subject to at least two biases:
- The expectation and personal aura of the interviewer
- Ignorance or lack of interest on the part of the interviewee.
Indeed, the authors themselves seem uncertain and they repeatedly pointed out the limitations of their presentation.
And there are much more serious limitations: why only talk to a patient—why not measure facts? The objective proof for the questions raised could be easily brought about by providing objective, concrete results such as the antibody response to the causative pathogens. This is entirely within the realms of the possible (2). By means of laboratory medicine clear, not vague answers about the protection of immunosuppressed people can be provided. In modern medicine, collection of accurately measured data is a prerequisite for the assessment of appropriate consequences.
Prof. Dr. med. Herbert Hof
Dr. med. Jan Bartel
|1.||Teich N, Klugmann T, Tiedemann A, Holler B, Mössner J, Liebetrau A, Schiefke I: Vaccination coverage in immuno-suppressed patients—results of a regional health services research study. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 108(7): 105–11. VOLLTEXT|
|2.||Hof H, Bartel J: Fehlende Immunität gegen Tetanus im Alter. DMW 2011; 136: 148–50.|