IDF Medical Advisory Committee Publishes Vaccination Recommendations

Towson, MD, March 27, 2014 – The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) addresses the debate over vaccinations, stressing the importance of educating the public about primary immunodeficiency diseases during National Primary Immunodeficiency Awareness Month. In “Recommendations for live viral and bacterial vaccines in immunodeficient patients and their close contacts” appearing in the April edition of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the IDF Medical Advisory Committee responds to the uncertainty regarding which live viral or bacterial vaccines can be given to patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases as well as the growing neglect of societal adherence to routine immunizations.

Primary immunodeficiency diseases, or PI, are a group of more than 200 rare, chronic disorders in which part of the body’s immune system is missing or does not function properly. Based on the collective experience of the prominent immunologists of the IDF Medical Advisory Committee and published literature, the article includes recommended immunizations of patients with PI, particularly children and adolescents, and it discusses concerns about those with PI acquiring infections from healthy individuals who have not been immunized or who are shedding live vaccine-derived viral or bacterial organisms.

“This review recommends the general education of what is known about vaccine-preventable or vaccine-derived diseases being spread to immunodeficient patients at risk for close-contact spread of infection and describes the relative risks for a child with severe immunodeficiency,” William T. Shearer, MD, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, and colleagues wrote, “The review also recommends a balance between the need to protect vulnerable subjects and their social needs to integrate into society, attend school, and benefit from peer education.”

“We are grateful to our Medical Advisory Committee for confronting this serious issue. Many parents of children with primary immunodeficiency have contacted IDF about the consequences of other families not immunizing their children,” explained Marcia Boyle, IDF President & Founder, “IDF works to raise awareness of primary immunodeficiency diseases throughout the year, but this article published during National Primary Immunodeficiency Awareness Month gives us an opportunity to emphasize the immunizations that certain patients with primary immunodeficiency may receive, as well as which ones should be avoided. It also stresses the importance of vaccinations for all children.”

The full article text is available through The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology:

About The Immune Deficiency Foundation

The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF), founded in 1980, is the national patient organization dedicated to improving the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of persons with primary immunodeficiency diseases through advocacy, education and research. To learn more about IDF programs, services and educational materials, visit