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  • Contraindications & Precautions

I know that immunosuppressed patients can receive inactivated vaccines, but not live vaccines. Will these patients who receive inactivated vaccines develop a sufficient immune response to make vaccinating them worthwhile?

Inactivated vaccines can be administered to people who take immunosuppressive drugs or who have a condition that causes them to be immunocompromised. The vaccines might not be as effective as they would be when given to a person with an intact immune system. If possible, the immunosuppressive drug should be discontinued for a month prior to vaccination, then allow the vaccine 2–3 weeks to generate an immune response before restarting the immunosuppressive treatment, but obviously, this is not always possible.

Determination of altered immunocompetence is important because incidence or severity of some vaccine-preventable diseases is greater in people with altered immunocompetence. As a result, certain vaccines (e.g., inactivated influenza vaccine and pneumococcal vaccines) are recommended specifically for people with altered immunocompetence.

More information can be found in ACIP’s “General Best Practices Guidelines for Immunization” available at

Last reviewed: August 29, 2022

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