Immunizations for Premature Infants

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Immunizations for Premature Infants

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Routine immunizations

Starting at 2 months after birth, premature infants need all the recommended immunizations that full-term infants get. The one immunization that your preemie may not get on schedule is the hepatitis B vaccine, which is usually given at birth. This vaccine doesn't work as well in very small preemies and may be given one month after birth if the mother does not have chronic hepatitis B infection.

For more information about recommended immunizations, see the topic Immunizations.

Tdap and flu (influenza) vaccines for adults

If you've never had a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) shot, get a dose before getting pregnant or right after your baby is born. It's dangerous for a newborn to get pertussis (whooping cough). Also, get a seasonal flu and H1N1 flu shot to reduce the chances that your infant will catch the flu from you. Ask all other people who will be close to your infant to have these shots too.

When your infant is 6 months old (chronological age), he or she can start getting a yearly flu shot. This is especially important for babies who have chronic lung disease.

Extra protection for your premature infant

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Premature infants, particularly those who have lung problems, have a higher risk of developing severe respiratory syncytial virus infection than full-term infants. Your infant's doctor may recommend a monthly injection of the RSV monoclonal antibody during the winter RSV season, which greatly reduces the risk of severe infection and hospitalization. For more information, see the topic Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infection.

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By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Last Revised August 24, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.