Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Clinical Practice Guideline for Immunizations in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)—Part 1: Live Vaccines Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND & AIMS: Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may be at increased risk of some vaccine-preventable diseases. The effectiveness and safety of vaccinations may be altered by immunosuppressive therapies or IBD itself. These recommendations developed by the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology and endorsed by the American Gastroenterological Association, aim to provide guidance on immunizations in adult and pediatric patients with IBD. This publication focused on live vaccines. METHODS: Systematic reviews evaluating the efficacy, effectiveness, and safety of vaccines in patients with IBD, other immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, and the general population were performed. Critical outcomes included mortality, vaccine-preventable diseases, and serious adverse events. Immunogenicity was considered a surrogate outcome for vaccine efficacy. Certainty of evidence and strength of recommendations were rated according to the GRADE (Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Development, and Evaluation) approach. Key questions were developed through an iterative process and voted on by a multidisciplinary panel. Recommendations were formulated using the Evidence-to-Decision framework. Strong recommendation means that most patients should receive the recommended course of action, whereas a conditional recommendation means that different choices will be appropriate for different patients. RESULTS: Three good practice statements included reviewing a patient's vaccination status at diagnosis and at regular intervals, giving appropriate vaccinations as soon as possible, and not delaying urgently needed immunosuppressive therapy to provide vaccinations. There are 4 recommendations on the use of live vaccines. Measles, mumps, rubella vaccine is recommended for both adult and pediatric patients with IBD not on immunosuppressive therapy, but not for those using immunosuppressive medications (conditional). Varicella vaccine is recommended for pediatric patients with IBD not on immunosuppressive therapy, but not for those using immunosuppressive medications (conditional). For adults, recommendations are conditionally in favor of varicella vaccine for those not on immunosuppressive therapy, and against for those on therapy. No recommendation was made regarding the use of live vaccines in infants born to mothers using biologics because the desirable and undesirable effects were closely balanced and the evidence was insufficient. CONCLUSIONS: Maintaining appropriate vaccination status in patients with IBD is critical to optimize patient outcomes. In general, live vaccines are recommended in patients not on immunosuppressive therapy, but not for those using immunosuppressive medications. Additional studies are needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of live vaccines in patients on immunosuppressive therapy.


  • Benchimol, Eric I
  • Tse, Frances
  • Carroll, Matthew W
  • deBruyn, Jennifer C
  • McNeil, Shelly A
  • Pham-Huy, Anne
  • Seow, Cynthia H
  • Barrett, Lisa L
  • Bessissow, Talat
  • Carman, Nicholas
  • Melmed, Gil Y
  • Vanderkooi, Otto G
  • Marshall, John Kenneth
  • Jones, Jennifer L

publication date

  • August 2021

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