Individuals undergoing cancer treatments (eg. chemotherapy, immunosuppressive therapies or haematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT)) are at a higher risk of contracting infectious diseases due to their malignancy, as well as the immune suppression caused by their treatment. Immune suppression can result in an inability to fight new infections, as well as result in the loss of previous immune memory from past infections and vaccines.

Generally speaking, vaccines are withheld during cancer therapy due to an inability to create an effective immune response. The exception to this would be influenza vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines. Individuals with severe neutropenia should not receive vaccines due to the risk of febrile neutropenia.

Following the completion of treatment, individuals are recommended to either be re-vaccinated completely or receive booster doses of vaccines to ensure effective protection against vaccine preventable diseases. The recommendations for vaccine doses/schedules may vary according to type of cancer treatment received, the age of the recipient and any other co-morbidities.

The recommendations for the vaccination of children ≤ 18 years following cancer treatment (within 2 years of completing treatment) are outlined below.


Inactivated vaccines following cancer treatment can be administered from 6 months after the completion of treatment and if the underlying illness is in remission. Live-attenuated vaccines should only be given in consultation with the patient’s treating oncologist.

Post-chemotherapy immunisation guideline

  • Inactivated vaccines

  • COVID-19 vaccines

  • Live-attenuated vaccines

Post-HSCT immunisation guideline

  • Inactivated vaccines

  • COVID-19 vaccines

  • Live-attenuated vaccines

Authors: Rachael McGuire (MVEC Education Nurse Coordinator) and Nigel Crawford (Director SAEFVIC, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Reviewed by: Rachael McGuire (MVEC Education Nurse Coordinator), Francesca Machingaifa (MVEC Education Nurse Coordinator) and Teresa Lazzaro (Consultant Paediatrician, Royal Children’s Hospital)

Date: March 10, 2022

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.