Johns Hopkins Hospital Warns Patients about Vaccine Shedding

The original Johns Hopkins Hospital Patient Guide did warn immunocompromised patients about contact with those who were recently vaccinated.
The original Johns Hopkins Hospital Patient Guide did warn immunocompromised patients about contact with those who were recently vaccinated.

Are recently vaccinated people causing outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases?

Should kids be put in quarantine after they get their vaccines?

Of course not, but some anti-vaccine folks continue to push outdated information that hospitals, including Johns Hopkins, warn cancer patients to avoid children who were recently vaccinated.

Although vaccine shedding is a concern with some live vaccines, like the oral polio vaccine and the small pox vaccine, it is important to keep in mind that neither has been used in the United States for some time now.

Hospitals no longer warn patients about restricting exposure to people who have recently been vaccinated.

Were websites scrubbed of information about shedding as part of some conspiracy?

Of course not.

They were simply updated to keep up with the latest guidelines.

Can Immunocompromised Patients Have Visitors?

These guidelines about kids with cancer aren’t that new though.

As far back as 2001, an article in the journal Pediatrics & Child Health, “Practical vaccination guidelines for children with cancer,” recommended that household contacts of immunosuppressed children should receive:

  • all routine, age-appropriate vaccines, including DTaP, IPV, Hib, MMR, and Tdap,  and that no special precautions are necessary because transmission of disease from these vaccines does not occur.
  • the varicella vaccine and that even in the event of a vaccine-associated vesicular rash, the transmission risk is low and the consequences of infection are limited by the attenuated nature of the vaccine virus.
  • an annual flu vaccine

These recommendations for household contacts of immunosuppressed children are based on the 2000 Red Book: Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases.

The recommendations in latest (2012) edition of the Red Book  state that household contacts of people with an immunologic deficiency should also:

  • receive the rotavirus vaccines if indicated
  • receive either the inactivated influenza vaccine or live attenuated influenza vaccine, giving preference to the inactivated influenza vaccine only if the immunosuppressed person is a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipient in a protected environment.
The revised Johns Hopkins Hospital Patient Information Guide no longer warns about contact with children who were recently vaccinated.
The revised Johns Hopkins Hospital Patient Information Guide no longer warns about contact with children who were recently vaccinated.

So hospitals should no longer be warning patients about restricting exposure to people who have recently been vaccinated.

In fact, the latest guidelines from the Immune Deficiency Foundation Advisory Committee state that except for the live oral poliovirus vaccine, close contacts can receive other standard vaccines because viral shedding is unlikely and these pose little risk of infection to a subject with compromised immunity.

The Immune Deficiency Foundation also warns that, “The increased risk of disease in the pediatric population, in part because of increasing rates of vaccine refusal and in some circumstances more rapid loss of immunity, increases potential exposure of immunodeficient children.”

In other words, they are concerned about the risk of disease from intentionally unvaccinated kids and not from those who were recently vaccinated!

So, what about visitors?

“Tell friends and family who are sick not to visit.  It may be a good idea to have visitors call you first.”

The Johns Hopkins Hospital Patient Information Guide

Although you can’t prevent every cough and cold that might keep you from visiting a friend or family member who is being treated for cancer or has another immune system problem, keeping up to date on all vaccines can help to make sure that you don’t spread a vaccine-preventable disease, like measles or chickenpox, to them.

What To Know About The Johns Hopkins Vaccine Warning

Not only is Johns Hopkins Medical Center not telling cancer patients to avoid contact with children who recently received vaccines, they have gone out of their way to correct that misinformation from anti-vaccine websites.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, which includes the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System went out of their way to correct this anti-vaccine misinformation.
Johns Hopkins Medicine, which includes the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System went out of their way to correct this anti-vaccine misinformation.

Some folks haven’t gotten the message though and continue to push the idea that Johns Hopkins and other Hospitals warn cancer patients to avoid contact with recently vaccinated children.

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