Purpose of review
Immunocompromised children are a largely under-vaccinated population and are vulnerable to acquiring vaccine-preventable infections (VPIs). A variety of factors contribute to poor vaccine coverage including: severity of underlying illness, sporadic contact with primary care physicians, and lack of awareness among specialty providers regarding vaccination status. In this review, we report recent data regarding incidence of VPIs, new approaches to vaccine use, rates of vaccine coverage, and strategies to optimize vaccine administration in immunocompromised populations.
Pediatric transplant recipients and patients with autoimmune disorders receiving novel biological therapies, represent growing immunocompromised patient populations. VPIs continue to be a concern for such patients. Underlying disease severity may limit efforts to immunize pediatric patients early in their disease process, prior to immunosuppression. Inactive vaccines are safe and immunogenic after the introduction of immunosuppression, but live vaccines are typically contraindicated. Emerging data support the safety and effectiveness of live vaccines in certain immunocompromised individuals. Care providers must remain vigilant in maintaining patients’ vaccination status based on current vaccination guidelines, and create a multidisciplinary approach to optimizing vaccination.
Immunocompromised children remain under-vaccinated and vulnerable to VPIs. Optimizing vaccines should be a priority for every provider caring for this population.