A work colleague has just had shingles vaccination which I understand is a live vaccine what, if anything should I do?

My rheumatologist has told me I have vasculitis, suspects Wegeners as my lungs and sinuses are affected. I also have sjorgren's and under active thyroid.

I take thyroxin and plaquenil and naprosyn. I had alot of pain in my joints but this has improved since taking meds. I was on prednisolone until January.

I work just 10hours a week in an office and today one of my colleagues said she was itchy since she's had the shingles vaccine, her arm had been bruised and swollen at the site of the injection.

My boss knows my diagnosis but I work in the office on my own most of the time so the rest of the team probably are unaware of my illness. Indeed I'm still learning

I'm thinking I need to speak to boss and perhaps let staff know my health status, but what do you think I should do? I don't have any concerns with people knowing, it just hadn"t been necessary, until now, those that needed to know such as family and friends etc do.

Also should I be at all worried by having been around my colleague today?

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8 Replies

  • I think you should be ok. I think it's very unlikely that you could catch chickenpox from a colleague who has had the shingles vaccine. The danger is when someone immunosuppressed is given the vaccine, who might then develop chickenpox from the shingles vaccine. You can't catch shingles from the shingles vaccine.

    If in doubt phone your consultant tomorrow, but I honestly think you will be fine. I've researched this quite a lot, having caught chickenpox for the first time as an immunosuppressed adult. Later I developed shingles.

  • Thanks for such a quick and reassuring reply.

    Much appreciated,


  • My mum had the shingles vaccine she asked if it would be ok to see me due to me being immunosuppresed the GP didn't know but he researched it and eventually he rang the manufacturer who said that so long as she hadn't got a rash around the injection site that it would be OK

  • Thank you for sharing the information, it help.

    If is such a minefield and my rheumy and GP have told me not to search on the internet but how else do you find the info. This people on this site are brilliant.

    Thank you.

  • I have WG with Kidney damage. Now in remission. However, I have been told I shld not be in close contact with anybody who has had a live vaccine ( such as the shingles vaccine is ). I would spk to your consultant to get a clear view on what is best for you. After all we are all different and need to be treated accordingly. Good luck x

  • Thanks for the advice, I will put a call in to the rheumy nurse at our local hospital to call me to discuss. Better safe than sorry.

    Thanks for the good advice.

  • Dear Ally,

    Sorry if this IS a bit blunt, and it may not apply to you- as it does to me, but, if you do have anything like my condition.....DON'T HAVE A LIVE VACCINE IT CAN KILL YOU!!!!!!! Also don't go anywhere near chicken pox or shingles. Sorry to be quite so strong, about this, but it was 'drilled' into me, in these terms!

    I appreciate that I have frightened you to bits, for which I'm truly sorry, but when I read your question I nearly died myself!

    Sorry once again Ally, I do send you my prays also.


  • Thanks for that - I think - Andrew,

    I don't frighten or panic easily - perhaps it would better if I did!

    I have NO intention of having any live vaccines.

    I contacted my GP who couldn't advise me of what, if anything I should do, he looked up this vaccine, which is a new one but was none the wiser; so we agreed that I would telephone the local rheumatology helpline and get their advice and let him know what they had to say.

    I contacted them but it isn't a 24 hour helpline so had to wait for them to get back to me The nurse was lovely and said that I should be ok and if I was going to get ill it would have happened quickly so not to worry too much, she is going to speak to one of the consultants (not the one I see though) to get his view as well. She said if I felt at all unwell to go straight to my GP or up to the hospital.

    She was surprised that someone had had this vaccine as she was not aware it was available locally (which she should be) and asked that I find out which doctor's surgery was offering it to their patients so that she could discuss it with them; which I have duly done.

    Another case of patients informing professionals I guess.

    Many thanks for all the replies.

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