Vaccines for Travel
Traveling abroad involves extra risk for rheumatology patients who are immunosuppressed, and vaccinations to prevent illness are not always possible. The yellow fever shot, a live vaccine, is contraindicated in most patients. But an alternative is to use DEET products for protection during travel. Patients can also get a waiver if they will be in a yellow fever-prone area for just a short time, Dr. Schwartz noted.
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The typhoid intramuscular vaccine is acceptable, Dr. Schwartz said, but the oral vaccine is live and should be avoided, he stressed. The hepatitis A vaccine is also recommended, and if travel is less than two weeks away, an immunoglobulin injection is recommended.
Dr. Schwartz suggested people with rheumatic diseases take copies of their prescriptions and identify ahead of time the best hospitals in the areas they’ll be visiting.
And he had one more piece of advice: “I recommend they spend the extra money to purchase evacuation insurance. If they have a complication, they can come home and get care from their doctors.”
Thomas R. Collins is a freelance writer living in South Florida.
- Park JK, Lee MA, Lee EY, et al. Effect of methotrexate discontinuation on efficacy of seasonal influenza vaccination in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A randomized clinical trial. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017 Sep;76(9):1559–
- Vink P, Ramon Torrell JM, Sanchez Fructuoso A, et al. Immunogenicity and safety of the adjuvanted recombinant zoster vaccine in chronically immunosuppressed adults following renal transplant: A phase III, randomized clinical trial. Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Mar 7. [Epub ahead of print]