Safety and efficacy of neonatal vaccination.
Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Newborns have an immature immune system that renders them at high risk for infection while simultaneously reducing responses to most vaccines, thereby posing challenges in protecting this vulnerable population. Nevertheless, certain vaccines, such as BCG and Hepatitis B vaccine, do demonstrate safety and some efficacy at birth, providing proof of principal that certain antigen-adjuvant combinations are able to elicit protective neonatal responses. Moreover, birth is a major point of healthcare contact globally meaning that effective neonatal vaccines achieve high population penetration. Given the potentially significant benefit of vaccinating at birth, availability of a broader range of more effective neonatal vaccines is an unmet medical need and a public health priority. This review focuses on safety and efficacy of neonatal vaccination in humans as well as recent research employing novel approaches to enhance the efficacy of neonatal vaccination.
PMID: 19089811 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]