VACCINE ADVICE FOR SARCOIDOSIS PATIENTS
The advice on this page has been written by the SarcoidosisUK Nurses to help sarcoidosis patients understand more about the flu and pneumonia vaccines. The information will help inform your decision on whether to have either vaccination and how to make this happen. If you would like to speak to the SarcoidosisUK Nurse Helpline about vaccinations, or indeed any other questions you might have, please get in touch.
There are three flu vaccines available this year but the two that are most likely to be important to those with sarcoidosis are:
- The adjuvanted Trivalent flu vaccine (aTIV). This is licensed for people aged 65 years and over.
- The Quadrivalent vaccine (QIV). This is recommended for children aged from 6 months to 2 years and in adults from 18 years to less than 65 years of age who are at increased risk from flu because of a long term health condition (clinical risk group).
Flu vaccinations are not live vaccinations and therefore cannot give you flu, although you may feel a little unwell after. This means that they are safe to use in patients who are taking immune suppression medication such as prednisolone. Moreover the vaccine is generally recommended to this group of people who have weakened immune systems and are more likely to:
- Contract infection
- Contract a severe infection
- Take more time to recover from infection
The following people are offered the flu vaccine free of charge on the NHS:
- Anyone aged over 65 years.
- Anyone with a chronic respiratory, heart, liver, kidney or neurological disease (clinical risk group).
- Anyone with a weakened immune system as a result of steroid tablets.
However sarcoidosis is a rare disease and is not necessarily classified as a clinical risk group. In addition the availability of the flu vaccine varies across different parts of the UK. Therefore you may have to request the flu vaccination from your GP. He or she can make a clinical decision regarding its administration and ensure that it is entered on your notes.
If you have a carer they may also be eligible for a free flu vaccination, even if they are family members. Please encourage them to ask their own GP about this.
Unfortunately, this year’s flu campaign has been hampered with a shortage of the vaccination for those in the age group 65 and over. Supplies are supposed to back to normal in early December 2018. If you are in this age group your GP surgery should contact you as soon as they become available.
Sarcoidosis patients should also consider a vaccination against Pneumococcal (PCV) infections. It is a single time vaccination and will protect you against complications such as pneumonia. Like the flu vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccine is also offered as standard to anyone aged over 65 and is usually offered to patients with long term chronic conditions. However sarcoidosis is a rare disease and is not necessarily classified as a long term chronic condition. Therefore you may have to request the pneumococcal vaccination from your GP.
Information on this page last updated: 26/10/2018
Related content from SarcoidosisUK:
The SarcoidosisUK Nurse Helpline exists to provide free, quality support and information to anyone affected.
SarcoidosisUK fund world-leading research into sarcoidosis. Our goal is to find a cure for the condition.
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