Vaccinations and Scleroderma

Medications for Scleroderma, Arthritis, Autoimmune and Rheumatic Diseases

Author: Janey Willis. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Overview of Vaccinations and Autoimmunity
Seasonal Flu Vaccination
H1N1 Vaccination
Pneumonia Vaccination


Scleroderma patients should always consult their physician before receiving a vaccination of any kind.

Vaccinations such as flu shots and pneumonia shots are recommended for patients with scleroderma and other autoimmune diseases. However, scleroderma patients should always consult their physician before being vaccinated. (Also see What is Scleroderma?, Medical Overview, and Medications for Scleroderma, Arthritis, Autoimmune and Rheumatic Diseases)

Patients with systemic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases are at risk of vaccine-preventable illnesses. Vaccine coverage against tetanus, diphtheria and poliomyelitis is low in patients with SIAD despite the risk in this population of severe infection, especially when receiving immunosuppressants. A significant proportion of them had no humoral immunity against diphtheria or tetanus. Specific immunization schedules need to be optimized in these patients. Cecile Marchand-Janssen. Rheumatology (2011) 50 (6): 1099-1105.

Flu vaccine and auto-immune and/or inflammatory diseases. These data encourage to vaccine every year patients with systemic inflammatory and/or autoimmune diseases with influenza vaccine, particularly patients taking immunosuppressant drugs or having respiratory, cardiac or renal chronic diseases according to guidelines. Duchet-Niedziolka P. Presse Med, 2011 Jan 11. (UnboundMedline)

Seasonal Flu Vaccination

Flu shot may reduce risk of heart attacks, strokes and even death. Get a flu shot to ward off a case of influenza, and as an added bonus you’ll reduce your risk of a heart attack, stroke or other type of unpleasant "cardiovascular event," a new study finds. Los Angeles Times October 22, 2013.

Low influenza vaccination rate among patients with systemic sclerosis. Influenza vaccination coverage is low in SSc patients. Lack of information and fear of adverse effects are the most common reasons for non-vaccination. Efforts are needed to increase the influenza vaccination coverage in this population. Luc Mouthon.

H1N1/Flu Vaccination

Experts suggest vaccines for those with chronic illness like heart diseases.

Pneumonia Vaccination

The pneumonia vaccine (pneumococcal vaccine or PPV23 or PPSV) is recommended for adults over 65 and younger persons with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems. According to UpToDate® a 2009 meta-analysis on the efficacy of PPV23 suggests that the pneumococcal vaccination appears to be more beneficial in the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease, rather than in the prevention of pneumonia. Scleroderma patients should discuss the pros and cons of this vaccine with their physicians. ISN.

Pneumococcal Vaccination (Pneumonia Vaccination). Pneumococcal vaccination is a method of preventing a specific type of lung infection (pneumonia) that is caused by Pneumococcus bacterium. There are more than 80 different types of pneumococcus bacteria-23 of these are covered in the current vaccination.

Superbug review says more vaccines needed to reduce antibiotic use. More use of vaccines would reduce the need to use antibiotics and help fight the rise of drug–resistant superbug infections, according to a British government–commissioned review of the threat. Reuters Health, 02/11/2016. (Also see Arthritis Treatments – General)

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