Pediatr Infect Dis J 2019 Apr;38(4):377-383
From the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Laval University, Quebec, Canada.
Background: While adverse events following immunization (AEFI) are frequent, there are limited data on the safety of reimmunizing patients who had a prior AEFI. Our objective was to estimate the rate and severity of AEFI recurrences.
Methods: We analyzed data from the AEFI passive surveillance system in Quebec, Canada, that collects information on reimmunization of patients who had a prior AEFI. Patients with an initial AEFI reported to the surveillance system between 1998 and 2016 were included. Rate of AEFI recurrence was calculated as number of patients with recurrence/total number of patients reimmunized.
Results: Overall, 1350 patients were reimmunized, of which 59% were 2 years of age or younger. The AEFI recurred in 16% (215/1350) of patients, of whom 18% (42/215) rated the recurrence as more severe than the initial AEFI. Large local reactions extending beyond the nearest joint and lasting 4 days or more had the highest recurrence rate (67%, 6/9). Patients with hypotonic hyporesponsive episodes had the lowest rate of recurrence (2%, 1/50). Allergic-like events recurred in 12% (76/659) of patients, but none developed anaphylaxis. Of 33 patients with seizures following measles mumps rubella with/without varicella vaccine, none had a recurrence. Compared with patients with nonserious AEFIs, those with serious AEFIs were less often reimmunized (60% versus 80%; rate ratio: 0.8; 95% confidence interval: 0.66-0.86).
Conclusions: Most patients with a history of mild or moderate AEFI can be safely reimmunized. Additional studies are needed in patients with serious AEFIs who are less likely to be reimmunized.