NRAS
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No Flu Jab!

I have just been refused a free flu jab by the receptionist at my GP Surgery. I have had them for the last four years. I have RD and take Methotrexate and Humeria, I also live with my son who has Pan Ulcerative Colitis and takes Azathioprine and Octasa AMINOSALICYLATES (5-ASAS). Why? Are we not at risk?

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These NHS instructions for free vaccine do in my opinion entitle you to have a free flu shot.

nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinati...

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I was having them well before the age they specify for free. Did the receptionist give you a reason, or was she just being awkward. X

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They also say that immunosuppressed should get it free ( see above)

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Sorry Simba, missed seeing that. I have to say I still haven't booked mine, keep finding reasons not to. I had mine last year in January. Still covered !!!!.

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Hi Gigi..I'm on RTX & I have been told by the centre I have the infusions that I should NOT have the FLUAD vaccine. If I have it they won't be able to give me my infusion.

I don't know if that applies everywhere.....or if it's just my centre.

I had the regular vaccine last year, & had Flu in January.....so it's all a lottery anyway.

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I think RTX is treated slightly differemtly from other biologics?

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It is on the list on the list on the FLUAD PIL saying there have been reactions & I must admit the manufacturer replied to my queries within hrs.

But it took a week asking GP,Rheumy,Rheumy nurse, prescribing pharmacist, regular pharmacist & finally the Biologic nurses at the chemo centre where I have my infusions, before I got an answer as to whether I should have the vaccine.

My GP had just put me on the 'Yes' list ..... not asking me or my rheumatologist...it was only because I saw the prescribing pharmacist who queried if I had cleared it with my Rheumy, that I thought I had better start asking questions. I'm in a very good place on RTX,I have no other health complications & I didn't want to be refused my infusion because I'd had a Flu jab.

I see my Rheumy nurse on 19th prior to my infusion on 3/12 ....I will have one on one time then & will find out if not having it is only a local rule in my area, or if as the regular pharmacist said - the NHS have not issued any guidelines so she couldn't advise me...The unit is just being cautious.

That was about two weeks ago.

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Hi AC...I’m due to go in my Rituximab infusion very soon, it’s been delayed due to a sinus infection. Whilst at the GP for my sinuses, the GP offered me a flu jab which I had ( haven’t bothered the last couple of years) she knew my history as we’d talked about the RTX being delayed. It was a doctor I hadn’t seen before but like I said she knew I was due to go in for RTX once the infection had cleared so this information really concerns me..as I would never have had the flu jab if I’d known this?

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If you had the FLUAD over 65 vaccine, If I were you I'd call one of the Biologics nurses where you have the RTX infusion, & see what your unit are doing.......

My previous instructions were that I had to leave at least a month after a flu vaccination before I had a RTX infusion, and to wait three months to have the flu vaccine after an infusion.

I never trust my GP to know anything about RA treatment.....my practice appear to know nothing about RTX. Luckily I very rarely see my GP as my Rheumy Nurse is usually right on the ball, but I couldn't get a reply from her about FLUAD which is why I called the Biologics nurse.

Just watching Sky news & they have just said there is a shortage of the over 65 Flu vaccine....which will leave a lot if older people unvaccinated......Ah well I beat Flu this year.......guess I might have to do it again?

I do hope you can have your infusion....do let us know what your unit say.......it will be interesting to know if some units are vaccinating & some not.

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Thank you so much for replying so quickly! I’m not sure what I’ve had to be honest she just said it was the flu jab I’m under 65 though? I need to ring medical day care to book back in for my Rituximab..have been sent away twice now due to infections..i wa due to have it on 7/9 and boy do I need it..they gave me a depo and now they want me to me on steroid pills until I can have it!! I don’t want to be stuffed full of more pills I just need the Rituximab!!! I will let you know how what they say and good luck with your infusions too 😊

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I had my last duo of infusions delayed so I understand what you mean..........mine were delayed by three months & when I eventually had them they seemed to take a long time to kick in so don't worry if that happens to you. I

Mine are now due 3/12, & I've only had a couple of twinges recently, so the RTX must still be working.

Not amused at the delay as my second infusion is 17/12, cutting it a bit fine to go abroad for Christmas.....I'm hoping my Rheumy will agree to "drifting" my next two sets of infusions so that I don't face the same problem next year.

Hope you get your infusions ASAP.

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It’s so frustrating isn’t it...my husband had taken time off work..well we both had only to be turned away from the hospital but I understand why they can’t do it. I know what you mean about the time difference between the infusions too I find that frustrating especially as I normally have to have that delayed because of water infection 🙄 steroids just seem to trigger water infections with me!!

I was supposed to have my hand operation on 5/10 but Rheumatology stopped it as I was flaring and need Rituximab..so who know when that will be done now I’ve already been waiting a year for it..just had a time of it recently.

I really hope you get both your infusions and enjoy your holiday too. 😊

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I honestly think the only thing to do is " go with the flow"...I used to be very concerned I got everything when I was told it was going to happen, but I eventually learned that only stressed me out & made ME worse not "the system"....I never won!

I must admit actually being on a drug that works is really calming,

not only the pain, but also the head! But am still a control freak in getting as much info about any new drugs ...hence my witch hunt about FLUAD.

Wish you well enough to get your RTX.

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Hi AC I am on Humira and never had a problem in ten years, often having the flu jab the same day as the my Humira. Both my sister and brother in law had problems with their Fluad jabs this year, neither of them suffer from any AI problems. Has put me off. I am currently suffering with constant back pain and sciatica affecting my legs as well, so can't face any more problems at the moment. I will call the rheumy nurses tomorrow, will have to leave a message, just to see what they have to say. I do believe last years flu jab was rather ineffective, so can understand as you had a nasty experience with the flu. X

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If I hadn't spoken to the prescribing pharmacist I would have gone ahead & had the vaccine. I would have put up with any side effects it it really I did work (?)

I was obviously naive in thinking my GP would have bothered to investigate if FLUAD was advisable for RTX patients. Although one of the GPS in the practice did ask if I had it every month....& when I gave her a funny look & said no every six moths....she just shrugged!

Hope you get some advice soon.

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Thank goodness you managed with lots of effort, mind you, for the right advice for you. I do have a few things on, so by the time they get back to me and if its okay will have it. X

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Yes I was going to have the vaccine, I've had the regular jab twice whilst on RTX.....but after the pharmacist put the doubt in my mind I just wanted to know!

Having found RTX works well for me I didn't want to do anything to upset the apple cart. In 20 years of RA I've had about 7 good years on Mtx- apart from that it was one drug after the other that failed, & I don't want to go back to that.

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Message on my answerphone. Checked with rheumatologist, all okay to go ahead. So will get it done, I know they had a shortage at the surgery.

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That is great......hope it works for you!

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Me too. X

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I booked an appointment for my flu shot for this last Tuesday and then spent 40 minutes with the practice nurse whilst she tried to get me on the system as having it. Apparently Hounslow (PCT ?), where my GP is located (I live in a different borough) send out a list to all GPs saying who is entitled (in their practice) to a flu shot. If you're not on the list then you don't get the shot. Rheumatology (another borough) wrote to my GP a couple of years ago saying I needed an annual jab and my GP has also told me I need one(Methotrexate). She eventually gave it to me but I do sometimes wonder why I bother (rhetorical question) with all these medical appointments, particularly as I've missed about a day's worth of work in the last week with medical appointments.

It's also not down to the receptionist to decide whether you are entitled or not (although I suspect your GP surgery has a list), mine tried that with me and I said "Well, that's not what Dr H said"

V.

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There was a little confusion over whether I should have one or not at my GP's - it seems as though it rather depends upon which meds you are on, but if you have had them in the past on the same meds and been given it, I find it a bit odd that you have been refused it now ?!

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Have you tried going along to your pharmacist with your prescription & seeing what they say? They have the NHS list of those recommended to have the Flu vaccine .....I think ..you'd better check......you can sign a form at the pharmacy & they will give it to you free.

I would certainly not take the answer the receptionist gave you as the final answer.

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Totally daft! I had that one year with a dragon of a receptionist. I refused to budge and insisted that she get a doctor to confirm this. Eventually with much huffing and puffing, and debate with practice manager, I got to see a doctor. Needless to say the doctor gave me the flu jab there and then.

I really had to try hard not to stick my tongue out at the receptionist on the way out!

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I got mine today. I was told everyone with an AutoImmune Disease is entitled to a Flu jab.

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Yell the receptionist she needs to update her skills

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Tesco is the way forward!

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That does not sound right but I do not take Humera. My rheumatologist says yes to shot. I had it three weeks ago and am fine. I am on mtx and sulfasalazine

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You can get free ones at a pharmacy try that tell them you’re immunosurpressed.

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U should challenge her especially as u have had them for past 4 years. What was reason for refusal. Too often these receptionists think they run the show!

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I had mine on weds, currently taking methotrexate and was told everyone on Immunosuppressant drugs is entitled. I would question this further with an actual GP.

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The same thing happened to me. They reluctantly gave me the flu jab, “this once only” and advised that I would need to ask my consultant to write to my GP and inform them that I needed the flu jab or go to the chemist and pay for one. Seems like another cost cutting exercise as I’ve had it at GP since diagnosed 5 years ago.

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Hiya Alex. In answer to your question you are in the at risk category. As you've had it the last 4 years I would think you'll be on your Surgery's list for inviting you to attend the flu clinic, it should be rolled out automatically. I take it you didn't receive a reminder? You don't say what reason the Receptionist gave but I'd bypass Reception & mention it to whoever does your MTX drug monitoring bloods next time, if it's your Surgery that does them. If not & you've no imminent appointments with either a GP or Nurse I'd ask for a telephone consultation with either to discuss it.

Had it been the first time you'd have been 'entitled' to a free flu injection it could have been questioned but not as you've had it previous years.

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I been having them for ten years when this year I was told I was not entitled! After a disagreement they decided I was but not for 4 weeks as the flu clinics were now full. I went to boots chemist with an appointment that I booked online at a time that suited me. The lady who did my injection spent time to check all my drugs, went though any possible side effects and told me that I was entitled to a free jab. Never felt so well looked after, doctors roll up you sleeve, inject, next. Boots also contact doctors to let them know you have had flu jab. Know where I going in future.

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I’m on sulfrasalazine. The hospital told me I needed flu and pneumonia vaccine, I had mine at the gp surgery last week. The nurse gave me them no problem. I’d book an appointment with the nurse at your surgery.

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I have a lovely comic sketch I'd like to post here but am unable to do so. However the gist of what it says is:

"It takes 7 years to train a doctor and 2 minutes for the receptionist to think she is one as well".

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I can’t think why this would be. I got mine each year, no problem. As doctors/chemists get paid around £5 for each jab given I can’t think why they wouldn’t want you to have it, for economic reasons if no other! Who is refusing you the vaccine? If it’s your doctor I would suggest trying a local chemist, I’m sure somewhere will give you it.

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I think enough reasons for being entitled for flu jabs . The medicines which you are taking all work towards immunity suppression. There may be a medical reason why your doctor has asked you not to take the jab. Did you ask ?

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