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Indian Pediatr. 2019 Dec 15;56(12):1041-1048.

Immunization of Children with Cancer in India Treated with Chemotherapy - Consensus Guideline from the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Chapter and the Advisory Committee on Vaccination and Immunization Practices of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics.

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Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Sutton, United Kingdom. Correspondence to: Dr Nirmalya Roy Moulik, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Sutton, United Kingdom.
Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India.
Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital And Research Centre, Mumbai, India.
D Y Patil Medical College, Pune, India.
Aditya Superspeciality Hospital, Hyderabad, India.
P D Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, India.
Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi, India.



Children with cancer need to be immunized against the common vaccine-preventable diseases after completion and sometimes during ongoing treatment of cancer. However, the immunization schedule for these children needs to be altered due to disease and treatment related immune-suppression. Consequently, there are many guidelines/practice statements from around the world to address this issue, however, there is no such comprehensive guideline from India catering to the need of Indian children with cancer.


A guideline was drafted after reviewing the available literature. The draft guideline was discussed and modified in a meeting attended by pediatric oncologists from the PHO chapter and vaccine experts from the ACVIP of the IAP. Subsequently, the modified draft was reviewed and recommendations were finalized.


To review the current evidence and generate a nationally relevant guideline for immunization of children receiving chemotherapy for cancer.


Live vaccines are contraindicated during and up to 6 months after end of chemotherapy. Non-live vaccines are also best given after 6 months from the end of treatment for durable immunity. Annual inactivated influenza vaccine is the only vaccine recommended for all children during chemotherapy whereas hepatitis B vaccine is recommended only for previously unimmunised children with risk of transfusion associated transmission of infection. Post-treatment re-immunization/catch-up schedule largely depends on the pre-chemotherapy immunization status. Sibling immunization should continue uninterrupted except for oral polio vaccine which needs to be substituted by the injectable vaccine. Inactivated influenza vaccine is recommended and varicella vaccine is encouraged for all contacts including siblings.

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