The Immunization Clinic for Stem Cell Transplant Recipients

This information describes the care you will receive at the Immunization Clinic at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK).

Your immune system is your body’s defense against infection and disease. After having a stem cell transplant (SCT), you will probably have a weakened immune system. This means you’re at a higher risk for infection and disease. This happens after both allogeneic and autologous transplants.

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Vaccinations After Your Stem Cell Transplant

After your SCT, you will need to get several vaccines. Vaccines can protect you from preventable infections and diseases, such as tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae, polio, and pneumococcal pneumonia. You probably had some or all of these vaccines as a child, but they may no longer protect you after your transplant. Your doctor has referred you to the Immunization Clinic to make sure you get all of the vaccinations you need during your follow-up care.

The vaccines given in the Immunization Clinic are routine vaccines that both children and adults commonly receive in the United States. The clinic follows recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP), as well as guidelines from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIMBTR). You won’t be given any experimental vaccines, unless you’re already enrolled in a clinical trial with your doctor.

Most people start getting vaccines about a year after their transplant. Once you start getting vaccines, it can take up to 2 years to get all of them. The vaccines are given in “rounds” or series, one after the other. To make sure you’re protected, we will measure your body’s immunity (ability to avoid an infection or disease) to each of the diseases you got a vaccine for.

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Scheduling Your Appointments

Your doctor will refer you to the Immunization Clinic. A staff member from the clinic will call you to schedule your first appointment. If you need to change your appointment time or can’t come to your appointment, please contact the Immunization Clinic as soon as possible.

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Receiving Your Care

At the Immunization Clinic, you will be cared for by a nurse practitioner (NP). Your NP and your doctor(s) work together and are part of the same treatment team. Your NP will:

  • Review your medical history.
  • Do a short physical exam.
  • Draw your blood to check if you still have immunity from vaccines you received as a child. These blood levels are called titers.
  • Review the results of your immune function tests and titers.
  • Create a vaccination schedule for you.
  • Give you vaccines. You can get up to 6 during each visit.
  • Talk with you about your future travel plans and refer you to the MSK travel clinic, if needed.
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Your Vaccination Schedule

You will get a vaccination schedule while you’re at the Immunization Clinic. The sample schedule below includes vaccines you may get at the clinic. Your NP will review these with you during your first visit, along with any other vaccines that may be offered to you. For each vaccine you get, you will be given information about possible reactions.

After you get 3 rounds of vaccinations, you will have another blood test to make sure they worked. If needed, you may get an additional 4th dose of certain vaccines before getting the booster round.

Vaccine Start time after transplant Number of doses Dose #1 date Dose #2 date Dose #3 date Dose #4 date Booster date
4 to 6 months 1   N/A N/A N/A  
12 months 4 to 5          
12 months 4 to 5          
12 months 4 to 5          
12 months 4 to 5          
Hepatitis A
and B
12 months 3       N/A N/A
Zoster Vaccine
12 months 2     N/A N/A N/A
24 months 1 to 2     N/A N/A N/A
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Contact Information

You can reach the Immunization Clinic Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at 646-608-3769. If you have other questions or concerns, talk with a member of your healthcare team.

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