Vasculitis UK
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Has anyone had a bad reaction to the flu jab?

Should vasculitis patients have the flu jab? Not something in days of better health I would have considered but all the medics seem to think it beneficial.

Because I have MPA and am on steroids and mycophenolate mofetil, which compromises the immune system, (as we all know) I have had several long lasting viral infections since mid July. The latest one, a chest infection, has been with me for 4 weeks with no sign of improvement despite 2 courses of high strength antibiotics. Thus a time to have the injection when I am not ill, or on antibiotics, is difficult to find. I also worry about having the jab while still ill, even though the doc says I can go ahead unless I have a high temperature.

Is it worth having? Will there be side effects?

How have other vasculitis sufferers fared with this?

9 Replies

It is almost certainly very well worth having. You should talk to your doctors about this. If they think it's beneficial I would recommend it. Although obviously you have to work around pre-existing infections.

I say this despite having had a bad reaction once myself. I had the flu job, with no problems at all, for 9 years, from 1998-2006, due to being on initially Azathioprine and steroids, and then adding in first Ciclosporin and then Mycophenolate Mofetil to the mix. I never got any worrying side-effects from the jab, and it protected me from a more serious form of flu.

In 2007 though it seems that the flu jab exacerbated my very difficult to control cerebral vasculitis. The consultant ordered me never to have the flu vaccine again. He's reconsidered that since, but says I still can't have it, because I'm now on 4 immunosuppressive drugs simultaneously (Azathioprine, Mycophenolate Mofetil, Methotrexate, AND Thalidomide). I would have no hope of getting a protective immune response to the vaccine.

So I take my chances! I had swine flu in 2009 if I remember correctly. I do not want flu again! But if I do I will get Tamiflu anti-virals promptly.


Forgot to mention: my husband gets the vaccine every year, as my carer. And since I'm mostly housebound, apart from my weekly trip to the health centre for my regular blood test, that gives me some protection. And both my parents (in their 70s) get annual flu vaccines.


As Viv mentioned, it will be necessary to work round any infection you have. I've been having the flu jab since 2004 and they always ask if I have any infection. I haven't so they went ahead. Maybe if you have they then check what the infection is, I don't know. There's always a doctor in the surgery when the flu jabs are dispensed at my GP clinic (Saturday mornings). Best to speak to your medical advisor about this. What is OK for me might not be OK for you because, as you know, we are all different.

Certainly it is advisable to have the flu jab when immunity is compromised. The flu jab won't stop you getting flu but it should help ensure it isn't too severe or life-threatening if you succumb. I've never had a reaction although some people have.



I have had the flu jab for the last 10 years and had no probs apart from sleeping more the day after


Thank you Viv, Patricia Ann and Tiggy. I now feel a little more confident. Flu jab appointment booked for next Friday. Fingers crossed!


Fully support your decision. My Doctor at Addenbrookes recommended me to have the jab and I havent had any adverse reaction.


I know of at least three people with Wegeners who have had very bad reaction to the flu shot. In all three cases they were hospitilaized for many weeks. Having said that I have had no problems at all.


I have WG and told i must have a flu jab, i had no signs of a cold so i went ahead with it and 2wks later i was full of cold but i would have been much much worse if i had,nt have had the injection, so i recommend you have one....


Just reporting back!

Had the flu jab 2 days ago and all is well. No adverse reaction, not even a sore arm. Presume we all react differently but if anyone else is concerned, then perhaps this report of my experience will help.

I am now being asked to have the anti pneumonia jab and am told it may cause a 24 hour flu like experience. Reports on the net say it is ineffective. Anyone got any further information?


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