What is it?

G6PD deficiency is a genetic disorder in which the body doesn’t have enough of an enzyme (chemical) called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). G6PD is important in keeping red blood cells healthy so they can function properly.  

The lack of G6PD can lead to destruction of red blood cells (haemolysis) when the person is exposed to certain foods, infections or specific medications. The red blood cells carry oxygen around the body, and the excessive breakdown of red blood cells can lead to anaemia, which can cause fatigue, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), shortness of breath and other symptoms.

G6PD is an inherited condition and cannot be spread from one person to another. The condition is more common in males and is usually passed on to male children from their mother. Most people with G6PD deficiency don’t have any symptoms. There is no cure for G6PD deficiency, and it is a lifelong condition. Managing G6PD deficiency involves avoiding foods and medications that can trigger the condition.

G6PD and immunisations

If you are G6PD deficient then prevention of infection is important.  There is no scientific evidence that vaccines are a medication that will trigger an episode. Therefore, immunisations are not contraindicated in children with G6PD deficiency.

Resources

Authors: Georgina Lewis Clinical Nurse Manager, SAEFVIC, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) and Nigel Crawford (Paediatrician, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne)

Date: November 2019

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy. 

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family’s personal health. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.