Each month, we ask our expert panel to answer one of our reader's questions. To learn more about the NAFC Expert Panel, and how to submit your own question, see below.
Question: I suffer from IBD and have always thought that vaccines would place me at a greater risk for developing an infection due to an already compromised auto-immune system. Is this true?
Answer: Many patients with IBD believe that they should not get certain vaccinations because they are concerned about side effects, and think that the vaccines won’t benefit them. But the truth is, IBD already is placing patients at a greater risk for developing vaccine-preventable illnesses. This is even more true if you are on an immunosuppressive therapy. This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor about vaccinations to ensure that you’re getting the protection you need.
Guidelines recommend vaccinating prior to starting immunosuppressive therapy, since the efficacy of the vaccine is higher in non-immunosuppressed IBD patients.
And while it is generally recommended that all adults with IBD receive non-live vaccines (in line with the national guidelines), certain live vaccines may not be recommended for some patients.
Talk to your doctor about the vaccines you need and determine a plan for getting up to date.
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