I’ve heard of at least two CLL folk recently, who've had nasty bouts of Pneumonia that were caused by Haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB). This bacteria is nasty - it can also cause other illnesses including meningitis.
Pneumonia is one of the biggest killers of CLL patients, and we are often advised to get Pneumonia vaccs. But the standard two vaccs for Pneumonia (Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23) don't give any protection against HIB infections.
However, there is a HIB vaccine that is recommended for CLLers. If you haven’t already had this, I suggest you ask your doctors about it. Sometimes it is given in combination with other vaccs (eg against certain strains of meningitis), which can also be useful.
I often see questions about vaccinations on this site, so I’d like to post the following link again. (Many thanks to pkenn, lenkeck and cllcanada who have shared this link before). Scroll down to the second chart and look at the row for "weakened immune system” as CLL comes in this category.
Recommendations for vaccinations keep changing, and it’s hard for doctors to keep up. So, it can be useful to print out this up--to-date chart, to show them. Soon even this chart will be out-of-date, as hopefully the new “non-live” shingles vacc will be available, and should be safe for us. However, till then, the chart correctly says NO shingles vacc for people with weakened immune systems.
It’s sadly true that CLL folk don’t generally respond so well to vaccinations, but the sooner we have them in our illness, the more chance there is of them getting good responses. Even if there’s only a small chance of them giving us some protection, it is better than nothing.
I got the vaccs quite late in my disease, but the doctors were surprised at what very good responses I got (as shown by blood tests a few months later). I believe the Pneumonia ones may well have saved my life, when I was struggling with a chest infection last autumn. So please bear with me if I keep going on about vaccinations….
P.S. The heather is starting to bloom on the Derbyshire moors... large areas are beginning to turn purple...