To Vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that is the question! - NRAS

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To Vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that is the question!

Sandrajb
Sandrajb

Hello everyone! I wonder whether I might ask if anyone with RA has had a flu vaccination and whether this is considered a safe thing to have considering how RA affects the immune system. I was diagnosed in 2014 and have been taking Methotrexate interjects 17.5mg weekly.

Never had one before, but now I am in my sixties, it seems the GP practice are after me to do so and also a vaccine for pneumonia which I have never even heard of!

Am at present isolating at home and don't get out much so am considering the "ain't broke, so don't fix it' stance on introducing live vaccines into the mix.

Many thanks for anyone's help. Sandra

19 Replies
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I may be wrong but I didn’t think the flu vaccine for older people was live? Many people on here have the vaccine every year though.

Yes definitely have one. My Rheumy has insisted I should and as soon as possible. My appointment is booked already.

The flu vaccine is not a live vaccine.

They won't be giving you live vaccines, don't worry - I get the flu vaccine every year despite being under 50. Aside from getting some funny looks for being the youngest person in the hall where they do it, I haven't had any side effects. :) I should be getting a pneumonia vaccine this year too and that's definitely not live either. I'm on 20mg methotrexate btw.

The pneumococcal vaccine is a one-off (and is not live) and is strongly recommended for older people as it well help protect you from pneumonia, septicaemia and bacterial meningitis - all of which can be fatal for us seniors.

I also have the flu vaccine every year, and so does my husband to protect me. I’ve only ever had flu once and I don’t want it again as I was ill for months!

We also need to consider that having the vaccine and trying to reduce the spike in winter flu will help take pressure off the NHS.

(If you are just on MTX do you really need to be isolating at home? I have been super careful, but am not staying at home - I’d go nuts!)

Of course get the vaccine!!

Neither the flu nor the pneumonia vaccine are live which means we are able to have them. Vaccination is a personal decision and you should only do what feels right and take advice from medics who are aware of your health. The only thing I would say is that it’s been acknowledged people who contract both Covid-19 and the ‘regular’ flu at the same time have been quite unwell, so that may factor in to your thinking this year.

The only flu vaccine that is “live” is the nasal one that is used mainly for children.

I've had mine done - always do as I work in a school. I have mtx, sulfasalazine and Cimzia. Never had any problems. Maybe wait until you feel more safe to go the the doc's or a chemist?

Vaccinate. It's safe and it might save yours or someone else's life. For me it's a no-brainer.

Most rheumatology consultants recommend that their patients do have the Influenza vaccine...don’t just rely on your GP to decide though.

Do you have a word with your rheumatology nurse to make sure there is no reason why you should not have one...then make the appointment....they are getting booked up fast.

I have the flu jab I’m on mtx. Bad enough dealing with RA without adding the flu. I’m prone to chest infections and the flu will no doubt mean I will be off mtx while on medication and then RA plays up .

It was a bout of flu that triggered my RD 18 years ago and since then I have always had a flu vaccination, as I was so ill with it and never picked up after it. I was fit and well prior to this and the feeling so ill I can recall only too well. It's up to the individual but I would seek advice from those who know your health best. Take care x

Thanks everyone who has so kindly taken the time to reply.

I have the vaccine booked for this Saturday so will go ahead I think.

Am not so much isolating as having an empty calendar at present.

We were supposed to be in Boston USA this week and last week which of course had to be cancelled. Will have to make do with watching Trump and Biden battle in out on TV instead!

Keep safe everyone and thank you again.

I'm on mtx and a biologic and I' ve been having them for years with no poblems

Having mine this week was told by my GP best to have than not. Based on my meds etc of course.

Without question have ... and the pneumonia one too.

I am in biologics and three DMARDS- always have the flu vaccine.

Hi can I ask is it ok to have the flu jab the same day or day before taking the MTX injection?

The consensus seems to be that the period from taking MTX to being vaccinated is not important, but that a two-week break from MTX straight after the jab will help the vaccine to work, see ard.bmj.com/content/78/9/1283

I do this in consultation with my rheumatologist. You could ask yours about doing the same.

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