Flu jab

Anybody having the flu jab?

Days after finishing chemo last December I ended up in hospital for a week with pneumonia. Since then I have had four colds/chest infections, actually still suffering with the last bout.

Several people suggested I should get the flu jab and I have since read that people having chemo should have it.

I don't want to have anything I don't have to so just wondering what all of you have experienced.


12 Replies

  • Hi Tulsa,

    Yes I had the flu jab whilst on chemo in October. My Macmillan nurse recommended I consider it. I was told to have it a couple of days before my next chemo whilst my immunity was at its best. I felt fine during and after. The arm felt a bit tender where I had the jab if I fiddled with it, but that was about it. My GP said it was effective for about 5 months through the worst of the season.

    I am glad you got through the pneumonia OK. It sounds nasty. I assume you are back on chemo now?

    Love Lizzie


  • Thanks for that Lizzie.

    Glad to say not back on chemo just seeming to catch every respiratory infection going.


  • Glad you don't need chemo. I think the flu jab is a no brainer then as it may prevent something worse than a cold. It sounds like your immunity may be low.

    Love Lizzie


  • same as tulsa had my flu jab last month 2 days before next chemo and no side effects just tender the next day, was told I should have one x

  • Hi Tulsa,

    Like Lizzie, the Macmillan nurse suggested I had my flu jab last year a few days before my next chemo for the same reason.

    My cousin was also adviced to have it before she started her chemo last Autumn.

    We both also had the swine flu jab and pneumonia. We never had any reaction from them either but arm was very sore.

    Then this year I had an appointment with the nurse for my CA 125 blood test and she suggested I had the flu jab again, so I`ve had it again but not the pneumonia. I`m not sure as though they are expecting an outbreak of swine flu this year. Hope this helps, and Good luck

    From Tina x

  • Thanks for that everyone.

    Guess I was just trying to avoid another trip to the doc but I now think jab is the way to go.


  • My GP practice emphasises the importance of the flu jab for cancer sufferers. I did not have it the first year as I was so ill but since I have had no side effects not even a sore arm. As I am susceptible to chest infections I also take vitamine C daily, have done for years and as a result resist colds. When on chemo I do not go into the presence of anyone with a cold! Difficult if you are married or have children at hame, I am divorced and live alone, my children and grandchildren live a long way away and I just ask friends who have colds to stay away. It has worked so far!

  • I would (probably unpopularly) just be the voice of caution. 'Flu' is a term for an ever-evolving illness, and the vaccine does not pretend to protect against the latest strains (hence the rush to try to find a 'swine' flu vaccine in 2009). Vaccines are toxic substances and can cause problems - sometimes severe- in a minority of people. I am not pro taking anything I do not need to treat something I already have. A friend had the flu jab this October and has been quite ill since (over a month now). He used to run and keep fit, but is pale and unable to breathe well even so long after the jab.

    When I was having chemo in the swine flu scare of 2009, I talked to my GP and we agreed that it was probably better not to, as my immune system support was high anyway. I was around friends and family who were going down with the usual things, and didn't get so much as a sniffle.

    I think it is wise to assess the need for yourself, in the light of your general health, immune support and suscepibility and research into the problems that can arise; then make your decision.

    Best wishes,


  • Hi, I had the flu jab last year when undergoing Paclotaxel/carboplatin and no bad side effects, but the chemo did leave me with a weak chest and earlier this year I had a chest infection tho the weak chest might be due to the anaesthetic during surgery. This year, undergoing my second cycle of chemo and was recommended to have flu jab again only this time I was told to have it on the day I have chemo or three days afterwards before my immune system dropped. I was told not to have it for the few days before chemo as blood tests have already been done to check if fit for the chemo and the flu jab may affect the bloods. No side effects this time either, I would take every protection offered but there does seem to be different advice being given about the best timing for it.

    All the best.


  • Well, 4 different doctors, nurses and oncologists, including macmillan told me to have the flu vaccine one week to 3 days before the chemo, simply because our imune system starts to be destroyed as soon as the chemo starts to go through our system. Amd one week before our next chemo session our imunity will be at its strongest. I can see how the blood tests can be affected after the vaccine but I`d say better that than have it afterwards and then have a bad reaction when we are already going through the side effects of the chemo and maybe a reaction from the flu vacine IF we should have one.

    One interesting thing - my daughter had an emergency c section 3 weeks ago and then developed an infection in which she is still fighting. When she asked the sister at the docs about the flu vacine this year, she adviced her NOT to have it yet. Amy has had the vacine every year with no reactions.

    I can`t help wonderring why she was adviced not to have it yet when I was adviced to have it by the same nurse while I was half way through my cycles of chemo. Sure can be confussing, can`t it?

  • Hi Tulsa, yes I had it, the day after my fifth chemo, as they said this was the optimal time for it: what with them having a note of my blood count, they could judge if my body could handle it. I was fine - maybe a bit tired but no way of being certain it was the flu jab as I was also in the 10 day post - chemo phase of tiredness! Top tip: if you do have it, move your arm immediately after (shrug shoulder, loosen up arms sort of thing) and you shouldn't have that 'heavy achey arm' one can get after an injection. My nurse did it so well, i didn't feel the needle at all, I was surprised when she said 'that's it, you're done!' They also wanted to give me the pneumococcal jab, but the nurse decided it was pointless as I should have had it before my chemo treatment started and I hadn't been diagnosed properly with cancer then! Also she said I'd have to wait minimum 2 months after my chemo finished, by which time flu/pneumonia season is apparently over. Hope this helps!

  • hi my oncologist sent me a letter back in October advising that I have the flu jab via my own GP approx one week prior to my next chemo session. the GP actually gave me the flu and the pneumonia jabs, on e in each arm and I was fine. good luck. Ann

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