Vaccinating preterm infants: a timeliness study
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Vaccinating preterm infants: a timeliness study

Helen Sisson Lecturer in public health, University of Hull, Hull, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand why it is important that all infants, including preterm infants, receive scheduled vaccines within the specified times

  • To be aware that some preterm infants may experience delays in receiving scheduled vaccines

  • To recognise the importance of supporting vaccine decision-making in parents of preterm infants

Background Infants born preterm (prematurely) are at risk of infection, making timely vaccination vital. However, global literature suggests that preterm infants experience vaccination delays and there is a lack of evidence from the UK exploring this issue at population level.

Aim To investigate potential vaccination delays in preterm infants in one region of England and to identify characteristics related to timeliness.

Method Existing trust data sets were analysed for infants born across a six-month period in 2018. The vaccines studied were for the primary schedule (vaccines given to children at eight, 12 and 16 weeks of age).

Results The results did not fully concur with the global evidence. In this study only infants in the moderate-to-late category of prematurity received some vaccines later than full-term infants.

Conclusion Primary healthcare professionals, such as health visitors, should maximise opportunities to support parents with their decision-making around vaccination and ensure that they keep themselves fully informed about the latest vaccination guidance.

Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2024.e1832

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Sisson H (2024) Vaccinating preterm infants: a timeliness study. Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2024.e1832

Acknowledgements The author would like to thank Dr Eric Gardiner and Professor Roger Watson for their support with this project

Published online: 21 February 2024

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