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Shingle vaccine

miss maggie
Posts: 929
Joined: Mar 2010

I forgot to mention I questioned my oncologist Aug 6 about the shingle vaccine. She
stated, 98 % for the vaccine. But, after that comment, she made a negative kind of face
and said nothing. Nothing, Nothing and Nothing. When I said I will decline the vaccine,
she said nothing, and shook her face indicating no to vaccine.

My internist also told me last year no to the vaccine.

I just thought everyone would like to know. Maggie

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3661
Joined: May 2012

Geeze, Maggie, that 2% trumped the 98%.

Would have been nice if she had given some reasons.

miss maggie
Posts: 929
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi Max,

When ever I see my oncologist, she always states I should of been a doctor. I don't
think so. There is so much I would need to know. I just ask so many questions.

Anyway, she and I both knew this vaccine is a live vaccine. Anyone taking this vaccine
must have a strong immune system. I will not play Russian Roulete. I don't believe in
looking for trouble. Trouble will find me anyway. LOL

My Immunoglobulin levels taken May 9, 2011 - Not sure if she will test from my Aug 6 visit.
Anyway, she explained my levels might not ever change. This is what Rituxan did to me only.

IgG 543 low normal 700 - 1600
IgM 38 low normal 40 - 230
IgA 224 normal normal 70 - 400

As you can see 2 of the levels are just a bit low. Not too bad. Reason enough not to
have a live virus vaccine.

Hope this helps Max. Your question was a good question. But,I knew right away her opinion
on the Shingle vaccine for me.

jimwins's picture
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

I have a new oncologist as my former moved back to Chicago to
be closer to family, etc. I asked about the shingles vaccine
(but didn't get a lot of detail and this is as best as I can

Live vaccine - NO to anyone in treatment or within 5 years after treatment.
(I lauged Maggie, cause he started shaking his head ;)).

Dead Vaccine - currently a trial being conducted on people receiving
or recently received treatment. I think he said those receiving Rituxan
are excluded in the trial. (not sure about those who have had stem cell transplant).

He said NO to anyone receiving Rituxan treatment (I'm pretty sure
that's both live and dead vaccine).

He stated that there's the risk of developing chicken pox like symptoms
if you're in treatment or had a stem cell transplant (I'm assuming
live vaccine here - don't recall).

So, in a nutshell, NO to live vaccine if you've had chemotherapy within
5 years. Dead vaccine depends on results of trial I suppose.

Just sharing,


Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3661
Joined: May 2012

Are chicken-pox-like symptoms worse than shingles ?

(Not certain myself.)


miss maggie
Posts: 929
Joined: Mar 2010

Dear Jim,

You want to know how I feel. Since most doctor's including my internist and oncologist say no, plain and simple the answer is NO. I suppose there will be always be a doctor or two,
who will give his OK. LOL Very funny your doctor shook his head also.

Max asked what is worse, Chicken Pox or Shingles.
I waa a child when I had Chicken Pox. Everything is easier when you're a child. I
remember all the special attention and the doctor's visit. Yes, doctor's came to
your home then. I know Shingles can be very painful. Not everyone will get Shingles,
it's the luck of the draw. I just wish I had vaccine before being dx with NHL. Too
late now. I will leave things alone.

As always thanks for your input. Love Maggie

dixiegirl's picture
Posts: 1043
Joined: Apr 2006

Chickenpox as a kid for me was really bad. I was miserable and I remember the only good thing was hanging out with my best friend..our parents made us stay with each other to go through it at the same time :)

Shingles: I went to the see my onc within 24 hours each time and he put me on meds right away and I was able to keep them from getting too bad and not spread. Time is of the essence....DO NOT WAIT

I am now on daily Acylovir as a preventative. From what my doc says I'll be on it forever due to my SCT and immune sytem. This came after getting shingles twice.

I am not even going to ask about the vaccine.

Take care,

cathyp's picture
Posts: 373
Joined: Dec 2009

Like you Beth, I was put on daily meds for shingles to prevent a recurrence, I have had them about 7-8 times recently ( I lost track!). Did you have any side effects from the meds? I had a constant sore throat. My doctor had me stop the meds after 2 months to see if my sore throat went away. It did. I never restarted the meds and...knock on wood...I haven't had a case of shingles in 8 months. I think it is remarkable I haven't because I have been under tremendous stress lately as well as having a severe case of mono.
So I'm wondering, if at sometime, your doctor will revisit the forever part for you. I was to take them for a year, two at most.
Anyway, hope it does the trick for you. Also, you gave great advice, do not waste anytime if you have shingles symptoms. Also, if you know what they feel and look like, you doctor may be agreeable to give you a RX to have on hand. That way you can fill it and start medicating immediately.
Best wishes,

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3661
Joined: May 2012

I appreciate everyone's responses to this. I tutored logic in college for years (everyone has to eat!), and my personality evaluations have always classified me as "Analytical." Obviously, there is no simple answer to the vaccine decision. I am leaning toward it myself. As I noted a while back, my neighbor got the disease shortly after ending chemo, and it was horrible for him; you would think he was stage 4 with cancer again, he was so badly sick. Plus, it has kept recurring for him. At times he can hardly move from the pain, and is out of work for long periods with it. He is a younger fellow, about 30.

The practice where I am treated (and also where my friend goes) has 27 oncologists and 7 NPs (all MSN), and is part of US Oncology (1,700 MDs, all sharing databases and clinical trial materials). Everyone I ask there about the vaccine responds instantly: "Yes. by all means get the vaccine."

IF I get the vaccine, I will share how it goes with you all, naturally. I am not disregarding or ignoring the advice or studies you have all shared suggesting that the drug is better avoided than utilized.

If only Dustin Hoffman from the movie Rainman were available to study the odds !


miss maggie
Posts: 929
Joined: Mar 2010

Dear Max,

If you decide to have the Shingle vaccine, please let us know. I certainly wish you the
very best. And no side effects. Yes, Shingles, I heard is horrible. I have to agree.

You sound like you have complete faith in your doctor. That is so important.

Positive thoughts to you. Maggie

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3661
Joined: May 2012


I had a hard time linking up with any doc. After my biopsy came back, everyone we saw on the Oncology site ended up being on vacation or some such. The guy I finally got with shares my values and religion, and we just hit it off. He is an amazing intellect; Board Cert. in three areas.

I found out that he was in the Navy when I was in the Navy, and we both served at Naval Training Facility, Orlando, at the same time (1980-81; Orlando NTC has since shut down).

I actually have not spoken to him directly about the vaccine, and will wait till I do.



miss maggie
Posts: 929
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi Max,

It is so true, there are times when things are meant to be. Even though we don't believe
it at the time. So many doctor's on vacation and then you found the one and only.

Yes, yes, please let me know what he says. No matter what your decision, I only wish
the very best for you. When will you be seeing him?

Love Maggie

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3661
Joined: May 2012

Thank you. Miss Mag.

Always a delight to receive your blessings and kind intentions.


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