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What Vaccines Should MPN Patients Get?

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Published on February 11, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • Dr. Jamieson recommends getting the flu shot.
  • For people with advanced myelofibrosis, it may be a good idea to get Pneumovax or protection against Group A Strep.
  • For additional vaccines, it’s best to make your own decision after consulting with your doctor.

Myeloproliferative neoplasm expert Dr. Catriona Jamieson, from the University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center, answers a patient question about what vaccines are recommended for MPN patients. Watch as she addresses several vaccinations, including influenza, shingles, varicella and pneumonia.

This is an MPN Research Foundation program produced by Patient Power. We thank Celgene for their financial support through grants to the MPN Research Foundation. These organizations have no editorial control, and the program is produced solely by Patient Power.

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Transcript | What Vaccines Should MPN Patients Get?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:                      

Is there any reason why we shouldn't get flu shots? You talked about the immune system, flu shots, pneumonia vaccines, shingles vaccines? 

Dr. Jamieson:              

Yeah, everyone should have the killed, completely inactivated flu shot. It's really important. So, I think that's important. In terms of pneumococcal vaccine polyvalent (Pneumovax), you know Group A Strep is a problem for people with myelofibrosis, not so much PV or ET. For people with advanced myelofibrosis, it may be a good thing to get Pneumovax or protection against Group A Strep. And, of course, if you've had your spleen out, then you need the three vaccines. So, everybody who's had their spleen out knows that that's not standard of care anymore to take a spleen out.

Andrew Schorr:              

Shingles?

Dr. Jamieson:               

Shingles, that's sort of not as big a deal in myelofibrosis. It's really not in polycythemia vera or essential thrombocythemia. I know there's a big push on now for everybody to get zoster vaccine (Shingrix) and get this varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. I rarely see shingles in our patients. I do see...

Andrew Schorr:                    

Yay.

Dr. Jamieson:              

Yeah. Rarely. It's really not common, because we're not really devoid of B and T-cell immunity to the extent that you see it in CLL and other lymphoid diseases. In myeloid diseases, your T and B cells aren't too bad. It's the neutrophil, so good cells that fight infection that don't work as well.  

So, I think people can make their own decision about that. I'm not a huge advocate of getting additional vaccines. I think that the flu vaccine, absolutely, provided it's completely killed. I think that having Pneumovax or Group A strep targeting – or strep and pneumonia targeting vaccine makes sense. Shingrix or the varicella vaccines, I think people can make their own decisions.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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