A Comprehensive Review of Immunization Practices in Solid Organ Transplant and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Recipients

Pearlie P. Chong, Robin K. Avery

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Background Vaccine-preventable diseases, especially influenza, varicella, herpes zoster, and invasive pneumococcal infections, continue to lead to significant morbidity and mortality in solid organ transplant (SOT) and hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients. Methods We highlight guideline recommendations for the use of key vaccines in SOT and HSCT recipients and to review the latest evidence and developments in the field. Results Physicians should vaccinate individuals with end-stage organ disease, as vaccine seroresponse rates are higher pretransplantation. Most live attenuated vaccines continue to be contraindicated post-transplantation, but there are emerging safety profile and efficacy data to support the use of specific live attenuated vaccines, such as measles, mumps, and rubella in pediatric liver or kidney transplant recipients who are on low-level maintenance immunosuppression and without recent history of allograft rejection. An inactivated subunit varicella zoster virus vaccine is currently awaiting US Food and Drug Administration approval. While we await the safety profile and efficacy data of this subunit vaccine in transplant recipients, it will likely benefit immunocompromised individuals, including transplant recipients, because the live attenuated herpes zoster vaccine is currently contraindicated in transplant recipients and transplantation candidates receiving immunosuppression. Conclusions There is currently no evidence that vaccines lead to allograft rejection in SOT recipients. Household contacts of SOT and HSCT recipients should be vaccinated per the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices schedule and recommendations. Implications Immunizations remain underutilized in transplantation patients. Although efficacy of vaccines in SOT and HSCT may be suboptimal, partial protection is preferred over no protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1581-1598
Number of pages18
JournalClinical Therapeutics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • hematopoietic stem cell transplants
  • immunizations
  • solid organ transplants
  • transplantation
  • vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'A Comprehensive Review of Immunization Practices in Solid Organ Transplant and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Recipients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this