Is the flu vaccine safe for Sjögren’s patients?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, November is the best month to get a flu vaccination. Studies have shown flu vaccines are safe for most patients with autoimmune disorders, although the overall effectiveness of the vaccinations for people with these disorders may be diminished.

“Although there have been rare cases of healthy individuals developing autoimmune disorders after a routine vaccination, the problem with Sjögren’s and other autoimmune patients is different,” said Daniel Wallace, MD “Studies have shown that they generally tolerate the immunization itself although up to 10% feel flu-like or achy for a few days”.

Citing a study done on lupus patients, Wallace explained that vaccinations have proven to be less effective for patients with existing autoimmune disorders.

“When healthy people receive a flu shot, they have 100% immunity for 6 months.” explained Wallace. “On the other hand, lupus patients (many of whom have Sjögren’s syndrome as well) sustain only 50% immunity for 3 months. Studies among lupus patients undergoing dialysis, all of whom have to be vaccinated for hepatitis B, also reflect that up to a third never show that they are protected. In other words, there should be no problem for Sjögren’s patients to take any routine vaccination, provided they take (this) information into account.

Source: Moisture Seekers Newsletter.