Pneumococcal, Hib, meningococcal vaccinations are recommended and funded for individuals with anatomical or functional asplenia because asplenia reduces their ability to mount an immune response (immunodeficiency) against encapsulated bacteria (Haemophilus influenzae type b, Neisseria meningitidis, and Streptococcus pneumoniae). They are at risk of developing overwhelming infection from these bacteria.
Influenza vaccination is also recommended and funded for an individual with asplenia because influenza infection increases an individual’s risk of acquiring a secondary viral or bacterial infection, particularly from Streptococcus pneumoniae.
For further information, including information for children aged under18 years, please refer to the Immunisation Handbook.
No vaccines are contraindicated for individuals with function or anatomical asplenia (pre-/post-splenectomy), and they are eligible for additional funded influenza, Hib, pneumococcal and meningococcal vaccines. Providers should also ensure they are up to date with Schedule vaccines, including Tdap and MMR.
When splenectomy is planned, individuals would ideally complete the vaccinations they require at least 14 days prior to their surgery.
If this is not possible, administer vaccines up to 14 days before splenectomy and recommence vaccination from 7 days after splenectomy or prior to discharge from hospital.
When splenectomy is unexpected, for example due to trauma, commence vaccination from 7 days after surgery or prior to discharge from hospital.
Individuals with functional asplenia can be vaccinated as soon as the condition is identified.
Individuals who have reduced spleen function, e.g., because of disease or partial splenectomy, are recommended but not funded to receive these vaccinations.