Is your immune system buggered? Mine is, in theory. After chemo treatment, we normally have a long course of prophylactic antibiotics, and spend a lot of time worrying about hygiene and herd immunity etc. etc. CLL is an immune system illness, so I’m naturally concerned.
I had a flu shot a couple of weeks ago, and a pneumonia shot last year. (the pneumonia shot is supposed to last for five years or so, so I don’t need anotherr one at the moment.) Immunisation is fine and dandy, though its effectiveness in CLL victims is unclear. What is very clear however is that live vaccines are advised against by the worlds experts in CLL. I’m not a medic, but I believe that this has something to do with live vaccines adding to the workload of our already compromised immune systems, which may not be able to cope.
I was very surprised to read this blog post from Dr. Brian Koffman, a family doctor in the USA, and a CLL victim – post stem cell transplant. Then I read a follow up post. Both posts detail his correspondance with the C.D.C., (The Centre for Desease Control in the USA) and their flat out refusal to change their advice regarding Herpes-Zoster vaccine, an attenuated live vaccine. All CLL victims should know that they should never have live vaccines. The CDC says that it is safe three months after treatment for leukaemia victims, and the facts are quite the opposite. This is just wrong for CLL victims.
Teh Prof states on his blog –
“It would be perverse to allow vaccination with live vaccines at three months into a remission.”
The post is a detailed analysis of the reasons for not advising CLL patients to have live vaccines of any kind, ever.
If you have a blog, writing about this subject and linking to the posts from Brian and teh Prof that I have linked above would add a little pressure to the CDC to change their guidance on this matter. A link here would also help. If you do write about this subject, let me know so that I can include your post here too. We need Google juice on this.