Vaccinations and Biologics

Question

Which vaccinations can and should I receive while on a biologic (TNF-inhibitor, etc)?

Answer

Vaccines are an important tool for preventing serious infections, particularly for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. While on a biologic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (such as a TNF-inhibitor), you can receive any vaccine that is INACTIVATED or NOT LIVE. This includes the influenza vaccine when it is given as a shot (injection). Some vaccines contain live virus, such as zoster (shingles) vaccine and intranasal influenze vaccine (flu mist). Patients on biologic therapies for RA should NOT receive these vaccines.

Rebecca Manno, MD, MHS

About Rebecca Manno, MD, MHS

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Johns Hopkins University