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Getting Flu Shots While on Remicade

Just wondering about flu shots with Remicade…I am from the Northeast (prime flu area). I have NEVER had a flu shot in my life and have had only had the flu maybe once or twice. Everyone is telling me to get the flu shot (even the Doctor). I am hesitant bc #1 I’ve never had it in my system before and # 2 because I have been on Remicade (my 4th infusion is in Oct). Does anyone have any insight to this situation? I would love anyone’s input.

Thanks for your help!

30 thoughts on “Getting Flu Shots While on Remicade”

  1. Don’t take the flu shot. They often contain toxic chemicals and you are already taking Remicade. You don’t need more toxic chemicals. Besides… getting the flu once in a while builds up your immune system and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    1. Dear Reid
      you do not seem to understand, if you are on remicade you should be taking the flu shot, your system is already immuno-compromised already, and therefore you would be wise to take the injection. You do not seem to understand what the FLU shot is, it is totally resp influenza that we vaccinate for, it has nothing to do with STOMACH flu, or any type of GI upset, it is completly RESPIRATORY, and it kills thousand of people every year. I am so frustrated, and tried of trying to explain this to people. YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS telling people not to get it, learn the science behind it before you spout off like a no mind !!!!!

    2. The flu and pneumococcal shots are needed even more when you are on remicade due to the fact your immune system is suppressed. I have been on it for two years and have successfully gotten a both shots every fall with no ill effects. You usually want to get it two weeks before or after an infusion

    3. You have no idea what you are talking about. The flu vaccine (triple or quad) is made of deadened flu virus, either three or four of the major, most serious respiratory flus that are expected to hit the region. It does not contain all of the flu viruses out there that you will be exposed to. The vaccine is usually grown in eggs, so if you are allergic to eggs, you might have issues taking it. For people with weakened immune systems, even a mild flu can kill you, whereas healthy individuals might have a better chance of fighting it. For remicade patients, you should get the quad flu shot, both pneumonia shots, and after a 30 day break, both shingles vaccines, followed by another 30 day break. Other vaccines to consider are yellow fever, hepatitis, and others depending on your area, lifestyle, etc.

      1. Check first before getting the Shingles shot. The last I heard and researched, it contains a live virus and is not recommended if you are immunocompromised. Because I am on Remicade bimonthly and randomly require oral steroids, my immune systems stays low.
        Unfortunately, I had a shingles outbreak about 1-year after I started my infusions, which is not unlikely. Please let me know if there has been a change in the contents of the shingles vaccine; I DO NOT WANT THAT AGAIN!!! I do keep up with my annual flu vaccine, have gotten the pneumonia vaccine (will be due for it in about a year), and had to get a “booster” for the Hep vaccine (important to get your titer checked to see if you still have immunity; for years I thought I did and mine was very low so I had to get a “booster”).

        ****If anyone else knows if the Shingles vaccine still contains a live version of the virus, please let me know?***

  2. I disagree. Remicade suppresses your immune system, which can make catching the flu much more dangerous than it otherwise might be. Likewise (and perhaps even more so) with pneumonia. If you’re also on prednisone or another steroid (which also suppresses the immuneI system, more so still. It’s not a matter of building up the immune system for people on Remicade, it’s about taking care not to unnecessarily test a weakened immune system. This is why your doctor had you tested for TB (or at least should have) before starting the Remicade. Diseases that most people kick with little difficulty — like TB, or the flu, or pneumonia — can cause significant complications when you have a weakened immune system. If it were me (and it is, as I’m also on Remicade), I’d get a flu and pneumonia vaccine. Shots only, no nasal vaccine (which contain live virus).

    1. Thanks Ben…alot of great information there…

      I was just at my Dr.’s office having my coumadin levels checked and I was offered the flu shot, and, without hesitation, said yes…
      The nurse found my Dr. and asked her..she said yes to getting it..
      I, too, am on remicade and I am right in the middle of getting my next infusion. I didn’t get the flu shot last year and wound up with triple pneunomia and spend 8 days in the hospital. I didn’t know there was a pneumonia vaccine..I will definitely look into getting that..


  3. I am on remicade and for that reason, my doctor recommends getting the flu shot. He also had me vaccinated for pneumonia. So, if you have any concerns discuss them with your doctor. It’s ok to ask for advice on the internet but I would also hope that you have a trust relationship with your family physician.

  4. Do as your Doctor says, have the flu shot. He’s the professional who’s had medical training and should know what he’s doing. Flu kills people.

    1. There is such a thing as putting too much trust in your doctor. Remember, doctors are trained in one school of thought and that’s all they understand. They don’t know everything.

      As a patient, you need to become your own doctor and use your hired doctor as an adviser.

  5. Part of me wants to tell you to go with your gut instinct but on the other hand I am on Remicade and I get the flu shot(esp because I work closely with the general public) and I have been fine. Your immune system is lowered with Remi so I guess if you dont want to have increased chances of getting the flu take the flushot. Also keep in mind the flu shot is only good to the viruses they know about…you can still get the flu, it may just be a strand that your shot couldnt protect you against. Sorry I couldnt give you a definate answer of what to do.

  6. Ive been on Remicade for 6 years now. I’ve gotten flu shots every winter. I live in NYC so my chances of getting sneezed on on the train are gigantic. My doctor and I plan my flu shots for halfway between infusions so that my immune system is as strong as it can be. Don’t want to get it just before or just after or you could get sick. Obviously you can always get the flu but I say always be safe. Just remember no live vaccines!

  7. I’ve been on Remicade for about 6 years. I’m waiting for a month to pass before getting my annual flu shot-anyone on a biologic had better go get a flu shot! Don’t mess around with your impaired immune system! I have a coworker that is very sick but she’s at work-sure hope I don’t catch anything from it!

  8. The flu shot is actually contraindicated for patients taking Remicade. My advice would be to ask your GI (or whoever prescribes your Remicade) I’m not saying it isn’t done, as a PP stated they do it halfway in between infusions. But you should definitely check with your GI, especially if you are on another med that inhibits the immune system such as predisone. And I would definitely go with the shot as opposed to the nasal spray because the nasal spray contains live virus.

    1. I have been on remicade for 2 years and I get the flu shot every year and every time I get sick about 4 to 6 hours after getting vaccinated and I am sick for about 2 1/2 days.
      This sucks but they tell me I should get vaccinated

    2. Actually the flu and pneumonia vaccine is highly indicated in individuals who are on biologics/Remicade. The flu vaccine in spray form typically contains a live virus and that form is contraindicated; many places no longer offer the spray version of the vaccine.

      I do agree to consult the doctor/specialist first.

  9. It is ok, and even encouragged and good medical practice, to get inactivated/killed vaccines when immunosupressed on Remicade, prednisone, etc. The flu shot is safe, but not the nasal spray flu vaccine, as it is living, although weakened and could cause disease in people with suppressed immune systems. Immunization not only protects you, but then you aren’t at risk of infecting someone’s baby, your grand[arents, your co-workwers, students, patients or the person sitting next to you during your Remicade infusion or in the clinic, in case they didn’t take the vaccine.

  10. Don’t do it!! I’ve had 3 Remicaid infusions so far, was told to wait 2 weeks before getting a flu shot, no one said what might happen if I got a flu shot while on Remicaid…. The next day I had flu-like symptoms. Almost 3 weeks later – I STILL have flu-like symptoms. My rheumatologist said the flu shot messed up my immune system, and that’s why I feel like crap. So I can expect to start feeling better “in the next couple of weeks” – which means I will have had these flu-like symptoms (stiff neck, headache, nausea,body aches) for a whole month!

  11. You’ll be fine. I have been on Remicade for well over a year and got a flu shot last year and this year with no side effects.

  12. I have been on Remicade for 5 years, 4 weeks apart, for Crohn’s. I got a pneumonia vaccine after being hospitalized for 9 days with it. On the advice of my GI and PCP docs, I’ve gotten a flu vaccine every year, and haven’t had the flu. No side effects either. This year I’m late getting my shot, and I have to wait another 2 weeks because my infusion is tomorrow. Hope I didn’t wait too long. You can’t do the nasal spray kind because it’s a live vaccine, but the killed vaccines are safe. I want to get a shingles vaccine, but it’s live so they won’t give it to me. :-(

    1. I had a flu shot in the fall, but I would get the flu in the late winter, so now I get one in the fall, then another in late winter, and NO flu the past three years!

  13. I’ve been on Remicade for about 7 years and my doctor recommends the flu shot and the pneumonia shot. You should get it at least two weeks before your next treatment or wait at least two weeks after the treatment otherwise the Remicade will nullify the shot according to my doctor and pharmacist.

  14. Ok, so here’s my question. I have chronic ulcerative colitis with a fecal patch and the RAS on base made me take a flu vaccine a few weeks back. Of course I was a nasal spray because they had no regular shots. The flu vaccine is mandatory in the Marines, so I couldn’t say no, despite bleeding internally for 4 months straight at the time. I have been feeling very hot, nauseous, have had trouble breathing, a very bad cough, vomiting, headaches and what feels like a fever. Is it possible that I got the flu, number one; still have the flu, number two; or have progressed into pneumonia, number three. If so to the latter, should I seek medical attention right away or wait for the weekend to be over and be seen by my RAS (regimental aid station). This issue has been going on for two weeks or so and has definitely gotten worse the past few days.

  15. Hmm… I never had the flu… ever… until the one year I had the flu shot. Two weeks later I was bedridden with a severe case of…. you guessed it. The flu. Wait, it gets better. Six weeks after that, I was so sick and bedridden again from…. guess….yup, the flu! That season, I was SO sick with all kinds of colds and viruses like never before. And I rarely get sick with any kind of cold or virus. In my experience, whatever was in that flu shot severely compromised my immune system. Never again will I EVER let someone inject me with that poison again!

  16. I can’t give advice as to whether or not you should get the flu and pneumonia shots while on Remicade. However, I believe the shots give a false sense of security. From what I’ve read…

    The flu shot gives only 20% protection against the flu. Basically, it protects you only from last year’s flu viruses that are still around this year. Moreover, the flu isn’t even as common as people think. Most people say they have the flu when they really have just a bad cold.

    The pneumonia vaccine protects against only bacterial, and not viral, pneumonia.

    So I choose not to get the shots. When I go outside I wear a medical mask, and I wash my hands when I get back home and before eating. I especially make sure to wash my hands after touching something that a lot of people have touched (such as money).

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