I am a 30 old female with Primary Sjogren’s. (I currently do not take any meds for treatment.) I will be taking a trip to Southern India at the end of Dec. (I will be in a city and will not be in the country side at all.) My Primary Doctor recommends getting Hep. A, Typhoid, Tetinus, and Malaria vaccines before I go. I understand that the function of a vaccine is to initiate antibodies to attack the antigens thus causing recognition and subsequent resistance to these viruses and bacteria. My fear is that with an increase in antibody production this will exasterbate my current syndrome and cause further damage to my own body. I consulted my rheumatologist and he didn’t really have an answer for me. He told me to get them anyway. So, should I get the vaccines and potentially be protected from contracting these deseases? Or would it be safer/healthier to not to get them and take the chance of possibly coming into contact with one or more of them and getting sick? What’s worst? Do you have any advice or sugestions?
You raise an interesting theoretical possibility, but the antibody response against a vaccine is specific to vaccine antigens and there is usually not a systemic inflammatory response (although on occasion vaccine side effects such as fever or muscle pain can occur). I am not aware of any good, controlled data showing that vaccines flare diseases such as lupus or Sjogren’s. Given that you are not on any medications for your Sjogren’s, I agree with your rheumatologist that the benefits of the vaccines still outweigh the risks particularly given the potential of contracting one of these diseases.