Postponement of vaccinations: when is it necessary?

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The appointment for the vaccination is set, but maybe the child "is not well". Should we postpone? To take stock of the conditions under which it is better to postpone vaccinations - or even give them up altogether - is the Guide to contraindications to vaccinations. The latest edition, edited by experts from all over the country with the contribution of various scientific societies, was released in February 2022.

In this article

  • When you can go anyway
  • When is it best to wait
  • What to do if you are taking medications

When you can go anyway

Cold, fever, diarrhea: if they are mild the vaccine can be done

According to the Guide, mild illnesses such as otitis media, upper respiratory tract infections (cold, sore throat, flu), diarrhea, do not lead to a postponement of vaccination. Not even if there is fever. "In these cases, in fact, there is no risk that the vaccination will not work or that it may increase the risk of side effects" explains the family pediatrician. Rosario Cavallo, head of the Working Group on the Prevention of Infectious Diseases of the Pediatrician Cultural Association, one of the drafters of the Guide.

Read also: Compulsory and voluntary vaccinations, the calendar

When is it best to wait

In case of a more serious illness, it is better to wait

"Obviously - explains Cavallo - let's talk about mild forms of these diseases. "If we are dealing with more important forms, or moderate or severe illness how can it be pneumonia - better to postpone until after healing. Even in these cases, there is actually no evidence that the disease can reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine or increase the risk of adverse events, but as a precaution it is better to wait.

Among other things, it is natural that parents prefer to wait even in the face of an altogether banal disease with symptoms of a certain importance, which make it difficult to go to the clinic. For example, if the diarrhea is severe and the child's malaise is high.

Read also: Vaccines, the new AIFA report confirms its safety

What to do if you are taking medications

If you are taking any medications, ask your pediatrician

Another common question among parents is whether taking medications is a contraindication to vaccination. "It depends on the drugs and why they are hiring "replies Alberto Villani, Head of general pediatrics and infectious diseases at the Bambino Gesù Hospital in the city and president of the Paesena Society of pediatricians.

Some drugs, in fact, can reduce the immune response and effectively render vaccines ineffective. It can happen with some chemotherapy or with drugs for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, which can weaken the immune system: in these cases, the specialist who follows the child will indicate the appropriate times for vaccinations.

If the little one is taking antibiotics It is generally not necessary to postpone, but should be mentioned to the doctor, as some can interfere with the effectiveness of certain vaccines.

What to do in case of neurological disorders

If the child suffers from seizures, epilepsy or other neurological disorders it is necessary to verify well what disease it is and what its conditions are. If it has already been characterized and stabilized it can be vaccinated without problems. Otherwise, the guide suggests waiting for it to stabilize.


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What can happen if an already scheduled vaccination is postponed for a few days or weeks?

"If a vaccination calendar has been established, it means that, in normal conditions, it is preferable to administer the vaccines in the periods indicated by the calendar itself" underlines Villani. "Having said that, however, there is nothing to worry about if due to a series of contingencies you have to postpone the appointment for a few days or weeks ". Even in the case of doses after the first, a small delay does not cause problems: the child will still be protected even in this period from the disease against which must vaccinate.

Read also: Vaccinations in adolescence

When to avoid the vaccine

Vaccines that contain components which, in the course of previous vaccinations, have caused the child to have one are contraindicated severe allergic reaction, that is, one anaphylactic shock. The same is true if the child has had anaphylactic shock caused by the latex which may be present in the vaccine packaging, for example in the vial or syringe cap or in the syringe plunger.

Non-serious allergic reactions to a previous vaccination do not involve contraindications to subsequent vaccinations.

And if the child has had severe allergic reactions in the past to substances that have nothing to do with vaccines, such as foods or other medications? In these cases there are no problems: vaccines can be done. However, the Contraindications Guide recommends extending the observation period after vaccination at 60 minutes.

If they are in progress tumors, leukemias, diseases of the immune system (including HIV / AIDS) the situation must be carefully analyzed case by case. In general, i may not be recommended live attenuated vaccines (such as the one against measles, mumps and rubella or the one against chickenpox). THE inactivated vaccines such as hexavalent may be contraindicated in some cases and strongly recommended in others.

Read also: Child vaccines: A to Z guide

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