• Contraindications & Precautions

I had an 18-year-old in the clinic today for varicella vaccination. He reports having antiphospholipid syndrome being treated with rituximab (a drug that affects the function of lymphocytes). The next dose of rituximab will be in 2 weeks. He has also had 12 immune globulin (IG) injections in the last year. Should he get the varicella vaccine at all with this condition, and if so, what time frame do we need to be concerned with in relation to the rituximab treatment and/or IG?

The IDSA guidelines indicate that persons receiving rituximab should be considered to have high-level immunosuppression. Both inactivated and live vaccines should be withheld at least 6 months following treatment with lymphocyte depleting medications such as rituximab. As for the IG, the interval to live vaccination depends on the dose. For guidance, please refer to the Timing and Spacing of Immunobiologics section of the ACIP’s “General Best Practices Guidelines for Immunization”, table 3-5: “Recommended intervals between administration of antibody-containing products and measles- or varicella-containing vaccine, by product and indication for vaccination” at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/general-recs/timing.html. This interval could be as long as 11 months, depending on the dose he receives.

Last reviewed: August 29, 2022

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