Flu Jabs

If you haven’t had one already now is the time to get a winter flu jab. Here is the advice given by St Thomas’s Hospital:


“Professor David D’Cruz from St Thomas’s hospital recommends that lupus patients should have the regular flu jab on a yearly basis when it is offered by your GP: this covers new strains of flu that may have developed. This is especially important in lupus as you are more at risk of more serious infection should you develop the flu and because lupus affects the immune system, which is essential to help you to fight infections. You should also have the pneumococcal vaccination which is given every 10 years at your GP surgery.

Lupus patients do not generally have any side-effects from the flu vaccine. When they do, their symptoms are usually mild, such as a few days of fever and muscle aches. Overall. the inactivated influenza vaccine is considered to be safe and effective for people with lupus, and it is recommended that lupus patients have the flu vaccine annually. The flu vaccine is updated every year to combat the flu virus strains that are most likely to cause illness.
The inhaled flu prevention treatment (FLU-MIST) is not recommended as this is a live vaccine. All live vaccines must be avoided in lupus.
Research has shown that the flu vaccine causes a protective antibody response in people with lupus, although this protection tends to be lower than in the healthy control group. Many lupus patients are on a drug regime, but this does not exempt them from having the flu vaccine. If you have allergies to certain drugs, or are pregnant, you should discuss this with your GP before having the flu vaccination.”


It may also be worth making sure the vaccine doesn’t contain an adjuvant. (Adjuvants are ingredients added to some vaccines to boost the bodies immune system to make it produce more antibodies to the flu virus in the vaccine. This helps to make the vaccine more effective). However, “Results from a Swedish registry based cohort study indicate a 4-fold increased risk of narcolepsy in children and adolescents below the age of 20 vaccinated with Pandemrix, compared to children of the same age that were not vaccinated.” *citation ( Narcolepsy is another autoimmune condition) Pademrix vaccine contains two adjuvants designed to provoke a stronger response.

Adjuvants are not used in the standard flu vaccine,  Enzira (or generic equivalents).