Immunisation of premature infants

Arch Dis Child. 2006 Nov;91(11):929-35.
J Bonhoeffer1, C-A Siegrist2 and P T Heath1
1 St George’s Hospital, London, UK2 University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
Premature infants are at increased risk of vaccine preventable infections, but audits have shown that their vaccinations are often delayed. Early protection is desirable. While the evidence base for immunisation of preterm infants is limited, the available data support early immunisation without correction for gestational age. For a number of antigens the antibody response to initial doses may be lower than that of term infants, but protective concentrations are often achieved and memory successfully induced. A 2-3-4 month schedule may be preferable for immunisation of preterm infants in order to achieve protection as early as possible, but an additional dose may be required to achieve persistence of protection. This update focuses on the use of routine childhood vaccines in premature infants.