Immunizations...

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Shayenne
Shayenne Member Posts: 2,342
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
I was wondering, this may sound like a dumb question,but in childhood, we had all these immunizations to build up our immune system to fight against diseases..but with chemo, wouldn't that be taking all that away? I am taking my last series of the Hepatitus shots, since it was a job requirement that I have it, and asked my doctor if it would be ok, since I start chemo Monday...who said it would be ok, but to get it now, so it has a few days to work in the system...then I thought today, isn't chemo killing off everything in the immune system anyway? and do you get those old immunuzations replaced?

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  • pamalama
    pamalama Member Posts: 27
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    Immunizations
    I don't know the answer to your question but something you might need to know. I noticed you have 4 kids we have 3 two of which are up for immunization shots for school(our 4 and 11 Year old), anyway they cannot get the MMR(contains live vaccine) because my hubby is going through chemo they get an exemption so they can attend school, something you might want to keep in mind when they go in or their yearly physicals. Best of luck.
    Pam
  • polarprincess
    polarprincess Member Posts: 202 Member
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    this is a tough one. I have
    this is a tough one. I have a cousin who has a ph.d in immunology and virology and is a top dog for global vaccines, and when i was trying to decide if i should get a flu vaccine or not..this was his response to me and maybe you can get something out of parts of it.

    I think I understand well the conundrum about whether to get the flu vaccine or not. On the one hand, it might not even be effective if a person's immune system is down, and perhaps it could even "overload" the immune system. On the other hand if the vaccine was mildly effective, it may prevent someone on chemo from getting an even worse flu infection should they contract the virus. I can tell you what I think is happening. The flu vaccine is essentially a "killed" vaccine, meaning there is no replicating virus that could cause an infection, yet despite that some otherwise healthy people have an adverse reaction to the vaccine, which I'm sure could even be worse for someone on chemo. I don't know why that happens. chemo drugs target actively dividing cells and kills a lot of your immune cells, which like cancer cells, frequently divide to form new daughter cells. Without those immune cells, vaccination won't do much since the vaccine relies on the response of these cells in your immune system for it to be effective. During an immune response to the vaccine, even the cells that are left after chemo must also divide to respond to the vaccine, which again won't happen in the presence of effective chemo drugs. I don't understand what would be bad about getting the vaccine while on chemo, even if it might not work as well I would think it might work some and help a little. Do they keep a T cell count for you while on chemo? I wonder if there's a threshold above which they would encourage vaccination and below which they wouldn't. Hope I helped answer your question somewhat.

    Ben