When to avoid vaccination

Pregnant woman
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A vaccine may be contraindicated for certain people, meaning they should not receive it. Possible contraindications should be always discussed with the healthcare provider before receiving a vaccine.

A vaccine is contraindicated to those allergic to any of the vaccine active substances or ingredients as listed in the product information.

A history of 'anaphylactic' or other serious allergic reaction after receiving a vaccine is a contraindication to further doses of that vaccine. Anaphylaxis is a rare, rapid, extreme allergic reaction which can cause shock, swelling and difficulty breathing. It usually occurs within minutes of exposure to the source of the allergy. Someone who experiences an anaphylactic or other serious allergic reaction following a certain vaccine should not be given that vaccine again, unless the vaccine is definitively ruled out as the cause.

Certain immune system disorders (e.g. congenital immune deficiencies), or medical treatments (e.g. chemotherapy, a bone marrow or other organ transplant, or high doses of steroids) are contraindications for some vaccines, such as measles, mumps, rubella, varicella or oral typhoid.

In some cases, the completion of the immunisations needed is recommended prior to the start of a treatment, as during the treatment the patient may be at higher risks of infection. Immunocompromised patients also benefit from those around them being fully vaccinated (such as family members, caregivers), as then they are also indirectly protected.

Some vaccines are contraindicated during pregnancy, such as measles, mumps and rubella. Every effort should be made to see that women receive all routinely recommended vaccines before they reach child-bearing age. Women of childbearing age should discuss with their healthcare provider which vaccines are recommended before, during and after pregnancy.

There may be other contraindications for specific vaccines, which need discussing with the healthcare provider.

Page last updated 13 Mar 2020