04 Dec Update to National Guideline: Immunisation of Children During and After Cancer Therapy
For the past two years, CHOC and Starship have been collecting data relating to the reimmunisation policy which provides for individualised revaccination advice based on off treatment serology testing. Analysis of the data shows that this strategy risks delayed or missed immunisations because of the complexity and confusion which occurs when every child or young person has a slightly different catch-up programme. There has also been confusion expressed by GPs over funding which has meant that many revaccination programmes have been carried out at the nearest paediatric shared care centre.
The new advice is for all children and young people to be re immunised for the whole panel of vaccine preventable illnesses as soon as they meet the listed off treatment criteria. There is very little difference in the number of needle sticks between the old policy and the new one and there is no downside to being revaccinated for an infectious disease for which there is some retained immunity.
All vaccinations are free to the patient/family. Although this policy change was driven by a desire to ensure patients were as well protected against vaccine preventable infectious disease as possible, the change is not associated with any increase in costs associated with the process.
This policy change is effective immediately and the new guidance is now available on the NCCN section of the Starship Clinical Guidelines site. This is also referred to on page 130 of the Ministry of Health Immunisation Handbook 2017.