People with inflammatory arthritis have an increased risk of vaccine-preventable infections. This increased risk is due to immune system dysfunction, concomitant diseases, and treatments used to treat arthritis, such as cortisone and biological agents.
Therefore, patients are encouraged to be vaccinated and to maintain their immunization status up to date.
Why get vaccinated?
Types of vaccines
There are inactivated / killed vaccines and live vaccines. Inactivated vaccines can be given at the same time as biological agents. It is still recommended to update your vaccination before starting biological agents.
The following live virus vaccines are generally contraindicated for patients receiving biological therapy:
intranasal influenza vaccine;
MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine;
oral virus polio vaccine;
BCG vaccine against tuberculosis;
oral typhoid vaccine;
yellow fever vaccine.
If you need a live vaccine, talk to your health care team about how long you must suspend the biological treatment before and after the vaccination.
Some frequently asked questions
Can vaccines cause the disease against which one is vaccinated?
Most vaccines contain a small amount of attenuated or "dead" viruses or bacteria, or some of these viruses or bacteria. These vaccines stimulate the immune system, but they can not cause the disease.
Can vaccines deplete or overload the immune system?
No. Vaccines represent only a very small fraction of the antigens against which the immune system defends itself naturally every day. In addition, vaccines use only a tiny fraction of the memory of the immune system.
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When you receive a vaccine, make sure it is written in your immunization booklet. Bring it to your doctor so the information is saved in your file.
Infections are the most common adverse events in rheumatology and many of these infections can be prevented with vaccination.
Vaccines are safe and less dangerous than the diseases they prevent.