Contraindications to immunization dictate circumstances when vaccines should not be given because the condition in an individual increases the risk for a serious adverse reaction following immunization. The majority of con traindications are temporary, and the vaccine can be given later. However, in many cases immunization is delayed or denied because of conditions falsely believed by the physician or the health worker to constitute a contraindication. The World Health Organization and the majority of countries have established and periodically updated lists of contraindications (and often also false contraindications) to offer expert advice for physicians and health workers involved in immunization for individual cases where doubt occurs.
Genuine contraindications are few and the numbers of individuals to whom they apply are fewer still. The various lists of contraindications include mainly:
- acute illness
- altered immunity
- severe adverse events after a previous dose
- children with neurological disorders
- anaphylaxis and allergy to vaccines and vaccine constituents.
Depending on the individual vaccines, contraindications are provided specifically.
Conditions that are NOT contraindications to immunization are called 'false contraindications'. Examples are the following conditions:
- minor illness, such as upper respiratory infection or diarrhea, with temperature < 38.5 °C
- asthma or other atopic manifestations
- family history of convulsions
- treatment with antibiotics, low-dose or locally acting corticosteroids
- dermatoses, localized skin infection
- chronic diseases of heart, lung, kidney and liver
- stable neurological conditions, such as Down's syndrome
- history of jaundice after birth
- mother pregnant
- in incubation period of illness.
Some of these conditions increase the risk from infectious diseases and such individuals should be immunized as a matter of priority [17, 26].
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26 (1998) Contraindications for vaccines used in EPI. Wkly Epidemiol Rec 63: 279-281
Pediatric Infectious Diseases Revisited ed. by Horst Schroten and Stefan Wirth © 2007 Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland
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Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.