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Live-attenuated vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella in pediatric liver transplantation

Title: Live-attenuated vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella in pediatric liver transplantation

Source: Pediatric Transplantation 2024, 28 (1): e14687

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Date of publication: February 2024

Publication type: Review article

Abstract: Background: Infections are a serious short- and long-term problem after pediatric organ transplantation. In immunocompromised patients, they can lead to transplant rejection or a severe course with a sometimes fatal outcome. Vaccination is an appropriate means of reducing morbidity and mortality caused by vaccine-preventable diseases. Unfortunately, due to the disease or its course, it is not always possible to establish adequate vaccine protection against live-attenuated viral vaccines (LAVVs) prior to transplantation. LAVVs such as measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) are still contraindicated in solid organ transplant recipients receiving immunosuppressive therapy (IST), thus creating a dilemma.

Aim: This review discusses whether, when, and how live-attenuated MMR vaccines can be administered effectively and safely to pediatric liver transplant recipients based on the available data.

Material and methods: We searched PubMed for literature on live-attenuated MMR vaccination in pediatric liver transplantation (LT).

Results: Nine prospective observational studies and three retrospective case series were identified in which at least 833 doses of measles vaccine were administered to 716 liver transplant children receiving IST. In these selected patients, MMR vaccination was well tolerated and no serious adverse reactions to the vaccine were observed. In addition, an immune response to the vaccine was demonstrated in patients receiving IST.

Conclusion: Due to inadequate vaccine protection in this high-risk group, maximum efforts must be made to ensure full immunization. MMR vaccination could also be considered for unprotected patients after LT receiving IST following an individual risk assessment, as severe harm from live vaccines after liver transplantation has been reported only very rarely. To this end, it is important to establish standardized and simple criteria for the selection of suitable patients and the administration of the MMR vaccine to ensure safe use.

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