Preterm infants are at increased risk for
vaccine-preventable infections and associated complications. A study in the
September 2019 issue of Pediatrics, “Early Childhood Vaccination Status of Preterm Infants” (published online August 7), examined hospital birth
records and state immunization registry data over eight years (2008-2016) to
see how many preterm infants received recommended vaccinations compared to
their full-term counterparts. The records included 10,367 Washington state
infants. The data showed that fewer than half of infants born preterm, less
than 37 weeks, received the full seven vaccine series recommended by 19 months
of age. In addition, over one-third of the preterm infants failed to complete
this series by 36 months. The authors suggest that the findings raise concern
because of increased numbers of preterm births and the fact that preterm
infants are particularly susceptible to vaccine preventable diseases such as S.
pneumonia, pertussis, rotavirus and influenza.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds