Children with underlying cardiac disease are at increased risk of vaccine preventable diseases when compared to children with no cardiac disease. This includes influenza and invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). IPD includes pneumonia, meningitis and bacteraemia, with those at highest risk being children with cyanotic heart disease or cardiac failure.

Vaccine recommendations

  • Routine childhood vaccines as per Victorian immunisation schedule
  • If children with cardiac disease are immunocompromised, live vaccines may be contraindicated 
  • If children with cardiac disease have received blood products and/or immunoglobulin, live vaccines may need to be delayed [see resources]
  • If children are also asplenic or have hyposplenism, some additional vaccines are recommended [see resources]
  • Vaccines should be given within recommended timeframes unless contraindicated due to medical treatment, including surgery (discuss with your treating doctor)
  • Recommended time intervals for vaccination before and after surgery
  • Before surgery – 1 week for inactive vaccines; 3 weeks for live vaccines (e.g. MMR, Varicella)
  • After surgery – delay vaccination for 1 week
  • Additional vaccines –
    • Influenza vaccine: all cardiology patients are recommended to receive influenza vaccine annually from 6-months of age. Two doses are required in the first year of vaccination for children < 9-years
    • Pneumococcal vaccine: children with chronic cardiac disease are recommended to have an additional pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevenar 13®) at 6-months of age (or at diagnosis) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax 23®) at 4-years of age and another dose at least 5 years later
  • If a child with cardiac disease is travelling overseas, particularly to high risk areas for vaccine preventable diseases, they should seek specialist travel advice [see resources]

Any immunisation queries should be directed to the treating doctor and/or contact the Victorian Immunisation services Hotline 1300 882 924.


Author: Kirsten Mitchell (SAEFVIC Research Nurse, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Reviewed by: Georgina Lewis (Clinical Manager SAEFVIC, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Date: July 2020

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.