The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend the same immunization schedule for preterm and term infants. However, significant delays in vaccination of premature infants have been reported. A recent survey substantiates the variability of immunizations practices in the NICU and identifies reasons for this variability. Researchers conducted an online survey of 2,443 neonatologists in the US, who are members of the Section for Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine of the AAP. Questions were targeted at immunization practices in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). They found:
- Of the 420 responses (17%) received, 55% of providers administer the first vaccine at >2-month chronological age.
- Most providers (83%) surveyed reported delaying vaccines in the setting of clinical illness.
- 60% reported increasing frequency of apnea-bradycardia events following immunization.
- More than half administer the initial vaccines over several days despite lack of supporting data.
- Reported considerations in delaying or spreading out 2-month vaccines were clinical instability, provider preference, lower gestational age, and lower birth weight.
Gopal SH, Edwards KM, Creech B, Weitkamp J-H. Variability in immunization practices for preterm infants. [Published online ahead of print June 8, 2018]. Am J Perinatol. doi:10.1055/s-0038-1660453.