Survivors of childhood cancer: an Australian audit of vaccination status after treatment.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer are at risk of vaccine preventable diseases and are recommended to receive booster vaccinations post-chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to describe the compliance of post-chemotherapy revaccination of childhood cancer survivors relative to current Australian guidelines.


A multi-faceted retrospective review of childhood cancer survivors at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia was undertaken. Immunisation status was reviewed through four sources: (1) hospital records; (2) telephone survey of consenting participants; (3) Australian Childhood Immunization Register (ACIR); and (4) family practitioners immunisation records. Participants were 0-18 years, and at least 6 months post-treatment for their cancer.


The study was conducted between March and September 2006. Eighty-nine patients with a median age at diagnosis of 5.3 years were included, 56% of patients had a diagnosis of leukaemia and 44% solid tumours. The median duration since completion of therapy was 3.1 years. Reviewing all sources, 39% (35/89) of participants had no evidence of booster vaccinations post-completion of therapy. Younger age (P = 0.001), and those diagnosed with leukaemia (P = 0.04) were more likely to have received at least one booster vaccine. Forty-seven percent (42/89) had received at least one influenza vaccination.


This study highlights poor compliance with current guidelines for re-vaccination in survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer. More evidence is required and these re-vaccination guidelines need to take into account treatment intensity. Multi-component strategies are essential to ensure protection from vaccine preventable diseases in this population.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Crawford, NW; Heath, JA; Ashley, D; Downie, P; Buttery, JP

Published Date

  • January 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 54 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 128 - 133

PubMed ID

  • 19785022

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1545-5017

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1545-5009

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/pbc.22256


  • eng