Immunization in individuals with chronic neutropenia

Madeleine Verhovsek

Madeleine Verhovsek, MD, is an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine at McMaster University.

Is chronic neutropenia an indication for specific immunization?

In chronic neutropenia, of course, we worry about somebody getting infections and, in particular, we worry about bacterial infections. But for now, we don’t have any good or strong evidence to suggest that anything special needs to happen with immunizations, for example, that they would need any extra immunizations. The recommendation is usually that those individuals would make sure that they’re right on schedule with getting all their immunizations according to their age and their location.

As well, though, there may be some special considerations. If they are receiving live vaccines, sometimes in communication with their doctor, decisions may be made about when those vaccines will be received or whether an altered schedule should take place.

The other important guidance, of course, if someone has severe neutropenia, especially if they’ve had infections before or there are other reasons that they’re immunocompromised, would be making sure that their other household contacts also are up to date on all of their vaccines.

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