Vaccinating the Immunosuppressed – Who, What and When

Vaccination in immunosuppressed adult patients has many facets and can be challenging for GPs who don’t deal with these cases regularly.

But there are a few key considerations that can help guide clinicians, says Associate Professor Michael Woodward, Melbourne-based geriatrician, writer, researcher and passionate advocate for health promotion.

Firstly, not all immunosuppression is equal. It is important to ascertain the degree of immunosuppression, as some people may be being unnecessarily denied vaccines because they are taking medication that can suppress the immune system but only at higher doses or in different formulations.

“For instance, someone who is on inhaled corticosteroids for their asthma or on low dose (less than 20mg) prednisolone daily for just a few weeks is not significantly immunosuppressed and can be vaccinated in the same way as other people, ” said Professor Woodward in an interview following his presentation at Healthed’s recent Annual Women’s and Children’s Health Update in ...

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