Cristina E. Cicogna, MD | Authors

Vaccinations Against Infectious Diseases in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Recipients

April 01, 2003

Blood and marrow transplantation, a curative treatment for avariety of serious diseases, induces a period of sustained immunosuppressionpredisposing recipients to opportunistic infections. Both forthe protection of the individual transplant recipient and as a matter ofpublic health policy, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) has developed guidelines for the use of vaccination in theprevention of infectious disease following transplantation. This reviewexamines the primary clinical research supporting vaccinationpolicies in this target population. Widely accepted recommendationsfor transplant recipients based on scientific data are sparse, as fewlarge studies have been conducted in this population. Anecdotalreports, expert advice, summaries, and limited series involving lessthan 50 patients using surrogate end points form the basis of thescientific literature, with the result being a wide variation in practice.Although based largely on inadequate scientific data, the CDC recommendationsoffer a pragmatic approach to the prevention of opportunisticdisease in hematopoietic transplant recipients and serve as auseful starting point for standardization of practice while defining thedirection of future studies in transplant recipients and other immunocompromisedhosts.