- To give your immune system the best chance to fight off viruses it is important for patients with a weakened immune system to get vaccines.
- The flu vaccine takes approximately two weeks to begin working.
- There is a new pneumonia vaccine called the PCV-13 and is highly recommended. This is used in combination with the old vaccine.
- If you need to have a live vaccine, get it before starting a biologic medication. You cannot receive a live vaccine after starting biologics.
- Live vaccines include shingles, flu mist, measles, mumps, rubella, yellow fever, and other childhood vaccines.
It is Important for Those with Inflammatory Arthritis to Get Vaccinated
To give your immune system a fighting chance with inflammatory arthritis such as psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis, it is important that you get regular vaccinations and stay up to date with them.
The flu vaccine should be received yearly. Your flu vaccine should be the injected vaccine; this does contain a live virus. The injection is in your upper arm, and is available most everywhere. You can get your flu shot at your doctor’s office, pharmacies, and vaccine clinics in some malls. Check around your area to see what is available.
A common opinion with the flu injection is that you can get the flu from the vaccine, this is just a myth. You may however, have aches, pains, and soreness at the injection site. In rare cases, you may get the flu directly after getting the vaccine if you were exposed to the flu before getting the vaccine. It typically takes about two weeks for the vaccine to start work against the flu.
The Pneumonia vaccine, also called the PCV-13 is a newer pneumonia vaccine. If you had a pneumonia vaccine in the past, it may have been the PPSV-23 vaccine. Check with your doctor to see if you should get a booster of the new pneumonia vaccine.
Two live vaccines of importance are the Flu mist, and the shingles vaccine. The Flu mist is a nasal spray that contains live components of the flu, this is why it is recommended to get the flu shot if you can.
The next vaccine, the shingles vaccine or zoster vaccine also has live components of the virus. It is common for people to become more susceptible to shingles with age, or if someone is immunocompromised such as those with inflammatory diseases. If you get the shingles vaccine, please do so before starting any biologic medications. You should not get a live vaccine while you are on a biologic medication.
Other live vaccines to avoid while taking biologic medications are yellow fever, measles, mumps, rubella, and other childhood vaccines. There isn’t too much concern with being around family members who have received live vaccines, however, just be aware and use proper handwashing.
If you have any questions about vaccines please talk to one of your providers.