Immunosuppressive treatments can increase the risk and severity of a range of potentially vaccine-preventable infections.
Key Evidence: Even though the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease declined in all groups, including individuals on immunosuppressive drugs, following the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines for infants in Norway, people on chemotherapy were still 20 times more likely to get IPD than individuals not on any immunosuppressants, while individuals on long-term corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs were around 6 times more likely to get the disease.
Key Evidence: In survivors of pediatric and young adult cancers in the US, the risk of mortality from infectious complications is 4 times higher than in their cancer-naïve siblings. Within the first five years after cancer diagnosis, the risk of some vaccine-preventable infections such as pneumonia and hepatitis is more than 9-fold and 6-fold higher, respectively. More than 5 years after cancer diagnosis, the risk of these two infections remains high at 3.7 and 2.5 times higher than siblings.
Key Evidence: Among children and young adults being treated for certain cancers, immunosuppressive therapies can erase immunity previously acquired through vaccination, dramatically increasing the risk of vaccine-preventable infections. The authors assert that vaccination during and after immunosuppressive treatment is necessary to rebuild immunity and protect the most at-risk children.