The HCSP – the French High Council for Public Health – recommended in 2013 a simplification of the immunisation schedule. For infants, a lighter and shortened plan was suggested for immunisation against diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, pertussis and Haemophilus influenzae b.
In order to determine if specific recommendations concerning this immunisation were necessary for premature newborns, the HCSP notably considered data on immunity development, on post-vaccination immunogenicity and on pertussis and Haemophilus influenzae b epidemiology in premature infants.
It reminds that prematurity exposes to an increased risk of infection in terms of incidence and seriousness for certain infectious diseases in young infants, and most particularly for pertussis.
The HCSP recommends that premature infants be vaccinated without delay in accordance with the current immunisation schedule, i.e. at the age of 8 weeks of life. It stresses the importance of implementing an indirect protection against pertussis through the cocooning strategy, the only early prevention means for these premature infants.
The HCSP considers that there are no epidemiological data available to date to justify recommending a strengthened immunisation plan for premature infants against diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, pertussis and Haemophilus influenzae b infections.
Further, the HCSP reminds that the immunisation plan for invasive pneumococcal infections is not modified, and that in the case of premature newborns from a mother carrier of the HB antigens, the recommendation for a strengthened immunisation plan against hepatitis B from birth is maintained.