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Immunizations for Premature Infants

Overview

Starting at 2 months after birth, premature infants (preemies) need all the recommended immunizations that full-term infants get. The one vaccine that your preemie may not get on schedule is the hepatitis B vaccine. In full-term infants, it is usually given at birth. But this vaccine doesn't work as well in very small preemies. It may be given 1 month after birth if the mother does not have chronic hepatitis B infection.

Preemies also have a higher risk than full-term infants for getting severe respiratory syncytial virus infection, especially if they have lung problems. The doctor may recommend a monthly injection of the RSV monoclonal antibody during the winter RSV season. These monthly shots can greatly reduce the risk of severe infection and hospitalization.

Immunizations for people who visit your newborn

People who want to see your newborn may need certain vaccines first. This is because it's dangerous for a newborn to get COVID-19, pertussis (whooping cough), or the flu.

Ask people who have never had a tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (Tdap) shot to get a dose at least 2 weeks before being in close contact with your baby. Adults and children need to get the yearly flu vaccine too. And ask visitors to stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations.

If you have not yet had the vaccines for these diseases, get the vaccine as soon as you can.

These vaccines can help protect your baby from severe problems from these diseases.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine