Infection Prevention and Control

Published on in CHOP News

It is very important that transplant patients reduce the risk of infection by following basic infection prevention practices such as hand hygiene and avoiding sick people.

Important tips include:

  • Always wash your hands before eating; after sneezing, coughing or blowing nose; after going to the bathroom or changing a diaper; and after touching pets and animals. More information can be found in the CHOP Clean Hands Handbook [link to come]
  • Avoid close contact with people who have respiratory illness symptoms such as cough, congestion, sneezing and runny nose, particularly during the winter months when viral infections are at their peak.
  • Stay up to date with your routine vaccine schedule.

Flu vaccine

All transplant patients: To keep your child safe, it is required that kidney transplant recipients AND patients who are on the transplant waitlist get the flu shot as soon as it is available. Research shows that kidney transplant recipients who have received the influenza vaccine are less likely to have severe influenza illness, less likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit, and less likely to die from the flu.  

Children on the transplant waitlist: Since children on the transplant waitlist can get a kidney at any time, it is especially important to get the vaccine as soon as possible to be protected if a kidney becomes available. Immediately after a transplant, we use very strong medications to help prevent rejection, which makes children particularly vulnerable to infections.

Transplant recipients: Patients should receive the flu vaccine every year. Transplant recipients must have the injectable form of the vaccine. We recommend all household members be vaccinated against the flu as well. The flu vaccine is available in many offices starting in the early fall, including your primary care provider and the kidney transplant clinic. 

We will be tracking who has received a flu vaccine. Please notify our office once your child receives the flu shot so we can update our records. Here’s more information regarding the flu and flu prevention.

Pneumococcal vaccine

Pneumococcus is a bacteria that can cause several different types of serious infections in children, with the most common being pneumonia. The pneumococcal vaccine is very effective in preventing severe infection. The current vaccine (Prevnar or PCV13) covers 13 strains of pneumococcus and was approved in 2010. If your child was vaccinated for pneumococcal before 2010, they should receive a single dose of PCV 13. A second type of pneumococcal vaccine, known as the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) or Pneumovax, protects against more types of pneumococcus (23 types) and is now recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for solid organ transplant recipients.

Once we receive your child’s immunization records from their pediatrician, we can determine whether your child should have Prevnar or Pneumovax or both.