Vaccinations and Rheumatic Disease

Special Report

Common questions about vaccinations for patients with rheumatic disease fall into four categories:

1. Does vaccination cause rheumatic disease?
2. Does vaccination worsen rheumatic disease?
3. Is vaccination effective in rheumatic disease?
4. Are vaccinations dangerous for someone with rheumatic disease?

Because there are many types of vaccinations (see Table below), many different vaccination schedules, and many differences among patients with rheumatic diseases, definitive answers are few. However, a number of specific studies permit general answers. In general, those answers are:

1. Vaccination does not cause rheumatic disease.

2. Vaccinations do not worsen rheumatic disease.

3. Vaccinations are generally effective in patients who are not taking high doses of prednisone or immunosuppressive drugs.

4. Vaccinations are not dangerous for persons with rheumatic disease, except: live-virus and bacterium vaccinations are dangerous for, and are contraindicated in, patients who take high doses of prednisone or immunosuppressive drugs, or who have very low white blood cell counts or are otherwise immunocompromised.

References to medical articles (below) can provide readers with information on specific rheumatic diseases. references to medical articles are attached. Detailed information about vaccinations, including immunization schedules and doses are available from the National Centers for Disease Control, Advisory Committee On Immunization Practices (CDC, ACID), which provides a comprehensive website. What follows are brief answers to questions patients with rheumatic disease may ask. …

See the complete article on the Hospital for Special Surgery’s web site

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