Vaccines and Autoimmunes – what does the science say?
Tackling some of the bigger misconceptions and misunderstandings one by one:
1. Are vaccines contraindicated for autoimmune diseases?
No. In fact, we need to be protected from these diseases as we are often on immuno-suppressor medications (i.e. chemotherapy type drugs) and have complicated health profiles. The treatment for these diseases are not tolerated well by our sensitive systems and the medications to do so may be contraindicated when combined with what we are already on.
There are two caveats – doctors prefer that vaccines are given while the autoimmune disease(s) is in remission (i.e. not active) and that dead (i.e. not live) virus is given in the case of the flu vaccine.
(scroll down to #13) http://www.lupus.org/resources/15-questions-understanding-lupus
2. All vaccines involve egg. I’m vegan/allergic, etc.
No. Not all and in the case of egg allergy, almost all patients have proven to be safe to administer vaccines to. This has been extensively studied in Great Britain by their NHS.
3. I’ve been told vaccines have dead fetus cells/dna.
No. That’s an antivax myth. Forty years ago fetal cells were used to incubate viruses. There are no fetal cells or dna in today’s vaccines.
4. I’m concerned about the adjutants in vaccines. Won’t that trigger my autoimmune?
No. There is no evidence that adjutants trigger an autoimmune disease response. The adjuvants (they aren’t in all vaccines) included in *some* vaccines are to create a higher acceptance response rate of the vaccine – that’s the response (often described as “flu-like”) we feel. Your immune system is accepting the antibodies. It is NOT damaging your immune system to receive them. It strengthens our ability to fight off the diseases the vaccines protect us FROM. This is a good thing. As autoimmune patients we are in a horrible position should we get these diseases, especially since the treatments are such that would weaken us even further. Frankly, especially for those of us not in remission, our odds of fighting off Pertussis, the Measles, flu, etc. aren’t good AT ALL. Which is why it is so important to talk to your Rheumie and Internal Medicine doc about which vaccines you should have – with the flu, it’s generally going to be the dead virus.
These are all people who have been discredited and aren’t credentialed to write about or study vaccines or immunology. In the case of Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Mercola, they were making a *lot* of money in anti-vaccination hysteria.