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I was going to the drop in flu vaccine centre at my surgery tomorrow, but I've just had really bad shingles with chickenpox and was only discharged from hospital last Saturday after 5 days on aciclovir drips. I'm still on oral antiviral treatment (valaciclovir).
I have had rituximab & bendamustine chemotherapy from March to June this year for a longstanding indolent follicular lymphoma, but am currently in remission. My neutrophils at last count were 0.7, but my lymphocyes are down too.
Given my recent illness and medication, is it wise for me to have the flu vaccine tomorrow am, or should I ask to defer this?
Thanks for getting in touch with us.
It’s great that you’re in remission, but not so great that you’ve had really bad shingles with chickenpox, and had to go into hospital to be treated.
It sounds as if you’ve been through a tough time. I hope you’re feeling much better and on the road to recovery.
It’s encouraging that despite what you’ve been through you’re still thinking about trying to minimise your risk from getting the flu by getting the flu vaccination.
The vaccination is not live, and it cannot give you the flu, but some people get a slight temperature and can feel unwell for few days afterwards. Very few people are unable to have the flu vaccine.
But it’s understandable why given your recent illness and current medication you’re wanting to know if it’s okay to have the vaccination today or defer.
Valaciclovir can have side effects, the flu vaccination is not listed as one of the medicines that may interact with it.
However, because you have been so unwell, we would advise that you talk to your hospital team or GP to ask if it would be okay to defer.
It’s recommended that you should take up the offer of the flu vaccine when it becomes available, with the best time to have it from the beginning of October to the end of November. So even if the doctors or you decide to defer there’s still time to get your vaccination this year.
I can see from your activity that you’ve already joined our Follicular Lymphoma group that’s great to see as there is nothing quite like the support that you can get from others who know what it’s like.
You can also give our Support Line a call on 0808-808-0000 and talk to one of our nurses. Our lines are open 7 days a week, from 8am till 8pm.
Best wishes and take care.
Ellen-Macmillan Online Digital Nurse Specialist.
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