The Importance of Prioritizing Pre and Posttransplant Immunizations in an Era of Vaccine Refusal and Epidemic Outbreaks

Transplantation. 2020 Jan;104(1):33-38. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000002936.


Vaccine-preventable infections are occurring at epidemic rates both nationally and internationally. At the same time, rates of vaccine hesitancy and refusal are increasing across the country leading to decreased herd immunity. For immunosuppressed transplant recipients, this situation poses great risk. Currently, 1 in 6 pediatric solid organ transplant recipients is hospitalized with a vaccine-preventable infection in the first 5 years posttransplant. For many recipients, these infections result in significant morbidity, mortality, and increased hospitalization costs. Surprisingly, despite this risk many transplant recipients are not up-to-date on age appropriate immunizations at the time of transplant and thereafter. As a transplant community, we must prioritize immunizations in both pre and posttransplant care. Research is needed to understand how to monitor immune response to vaccines in immunosuppressed patients and when to optimally immunize patients posttransplant. Finally, recommendations about administration of live vaccines posttransplant may need to be reevaluated in the setting of measles outbreaks and decreased herd immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Graft Rejection / immunology
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Organ Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Postoperative Complications / immunology
  • Postoperative Complications / microbiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Period
  • Transplant Recipients / psychology*
  • Vaccination / psychology*
  • Vaccination Refusal / psychology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents