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Annual influenza vaccination is strongly recommended for patients with chronic pulmonary diseases, such as bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and interstitial pulmonary diseases. However, many of these patients regularly receive systemic and/or inhaled corticosteroid therapy, and the impact of corticosteroid therapy on influenza vaccine efficacy and safety is unclear. Patients with chronic pulmonary diseases were enrolled in the study and divided into three groups based on their maintenance therapy: (A) without corticosteroid therapy (17 males, three females; mean age, 72.3 ± 7.9), (B) oral corticosteroid therapy (four males, seven females; mean age, 66.1 ± 10.6), and (C) inhaled corticosteroid therapy (eight males, nine females; mean age, 62.4 ± 16.0). All patients received influenza vaccine, and serum hemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibodies against influenza strains A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and B were measured at baseline (before vaccination) and 4-6 weeks after vaccination. Sufficient antibody titers or significant increases were observed after vaccination compared with titers before vaccination in all three groups. No systemic reactions were reported. Long-term oral/inhaled corticosteroid therapy was not associated with vaccination side effects and did not affect the immune response to the influenza vaccine.
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