Flu shot timing

Flu shot season is already here. In a few days, once I get the logistics worked out, I’m going to be bugging everyone I work with to get their FREE flu shots ASAP so that herd immunity can help protect me and other immune-compromised people from this nasty virus. Oh, don’t worry — I’ll be getting my shot, too. There’s just a question of when to get it to receive the maximum benefit.

Apparently there isn’t much research on how to best time a vaccination in people who get pulsed doses of immune suppressants. (I have to do more research, but I’ve been so busy these days that I outsourced the research to a hospital pharmacist. I will post more once I hear back from her).  I want to optimize the timing of the flu shot so that my immune system will react strongly to it for long enough that the next dose of Remicade won’t counteract its effects. In other words,

  • If I get the flu shot shortly after I get Remicade (& steroids), I won’t be able to mount a sufficient immune response for it to work properly, but
  • If I get the flu shot shortly before I get Remicade, my immune system might start to respond properly, but the Remicade might stop it from doing the whole job.

In the past 10 (!!) years, I’ve aimed to get the flu shot mid-way through my Remicade cycle. But now that my interest in this subject has been piqued, I might change the timing if I learn that, for instance, it only takes a few days to develop the proper immune response to the vaccine. If that’s the case, I’ll see about getting the shot later in the cycle.

(The stupid thing about this post is that I’ll be getting Remicade and solucortef tomorrow, but I’m obsessing about the vaccine today as if I were already manic on steroids. . . )

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