BACKGROUND: Data on the immunization practices in pediatric chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients are scarce. The purpose of this study was to evaluate current vaccination practices for children on dialysis across European pediatric nephrology centers.
METHODS: A total of 18 tertiary pediatric nephrology centers from 12 European countries were included in the study. The data on universal national immunization programs and immunization practices for children with chronic disease or risk were recorded from European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization. The immunization practices and center protocols for monitoring antibody titers after vaccination in dialysis patients were obtained through a questionnaire.
RESULTS: All centers included in the study recommended immunization against hepatitis B virus (HBV), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), and streptococcus pneumonia in dialysis patients. In 16 centers, dialysis patients were vaccinated against influenza virus annually. HBV protective antibody titers were measured in 17 centers (during dialysis period in 14 centers, during pre-renal transplantation preparations in 14 centers or in both times in 11 centers). Hepatitis A virus (HAV) was reported to be followed in 13 centers, in 8 centers during dialysis period, and in 11 centers during pre-RTx preparations. MMR and varicella-zoster virus (VZV) protective antibody titers were measured during the dialysis period or before renal transplantation (RTx) in 12 and 15 centers, respectively, and in 6 centers both titers were checked both times.
CONCLUSION: There are variations in vaccination practice across Europe. Children with CKD, those undergoing dialysis, and transplant candidates should receive age-appropriate vaccinations before RTx as well as before the transition to adult nephrology clinics and antibody levels should be monitored to evaluate the immunization status before and after RTx.