Off-label use of vaccines


This article reviews the off-label recommendations and use of vaccines, and focuses on the differences between the labelled instructions on how to use the vaccine as approved by the regulatory authorities (or “label”1), and the recommendations for use issued by public health advisory bodies at national and international levels. Differences between public health recommendations and the product label regarding the vaccine use can lead to confusion at the level of vaccinators and vaccinees and possibly result in lower compliance with national vaccination schedules. In particular, in many countries, the label may contain regulatory restrictions and warnings against vaccination of specific population groups (e.g. pregnant women) due to a lack of evidence of safety from controlled trials at the time of initial licensure of the vaccine, while public health authorities may recommend the same vaccine for that group, based on additional post-marketing data and benefit risk analyses.