Should I continue to get vaccinations if I’m on immunosuppressive therapy?

Jeffrey Bennett, MD, PhD – University of Colorado Denver:

NMO patients should be aware that many of the medications that we use for treatment suppress one or more aspects of the immune system. For this reason, they may be more likely to express some more serious infection should they become infected with a virus or bacteria, but they are not more susceptible to infection, nor do they acquire novel infections more often than the general public. There’s no need to walk around with a mask on your face to prevent yourself from getting a cold or a flu, but there are important other preventative measures to think about. The first is to think about vaccinations on a yearly basis, such as the flu vaccine, because if an NMO patient on an immunosuppressant were to get the flu, they may have much more severe symptoms. The second is if you’re over the age of 60, preventative vaccines for additional infections such as varicella zoster or pneumococcal pneumonia should be considered. And these precautions should be considered further when there are on multiple immunosuppressive medications.

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