I am to begin taking Tofacitinib (Xeljanz). But, before I take it I have to have the varicella vaccine (as I have never had the chicken pox virus and have no antibodies in my system. I had the standard fluvac and reacted severely with a severe flare up for a few weeks. Has anyone else had the Varicella vaccine? Is it standard to wait 4 weeks after taking it to begin a biologic? I have read lots of different things on the net about this. Please help shed some light for me if you can. I'm also a… read more
Yes, it is the Shingles Vaccine and it is a live vaccine. I had to have mine done 3 weeks before I started my first Biologic. If you are already on a Biologic and are coming up to age 60yrs, they may ask you to stop the biologic for 3 - 4 weeks, then get your shingles shot and wait another 3 weeks before you go back on your Biologic.
As someone who has had the chicken pox and shingles, I would suggest that you do get the Shingles Vaccine. When I got shingles, I had to stop my biologic for 4 months / 16 weeks, had to throw away all my make up and wash everything that I had worn while it was just starting to show itself and not wear makeup for 6 more months. I also spent 5 days in the hospital, then the pain lasts for approx 3-5 months after that depending on the serverity. I am not trying to scare you, I am merely trying to give you the options. :-) from someone who has been on the other side. A friend called me while I was in the hospital to tell me that a Shingles Vaccine was going to available soon but that of course, did not help me. :-(
The flu vaccine is not a live vaccine so we should all be getting that in the fall when it comes due.
Sending you all Positive Gentle Hugs xxx
The varicella-zoster vaccine is specifically targeted at chicken pox, however, it can re-emerge in a person as shingles later in life. There are shingles-specific vaccines, but the typical varicela vaccine that doctors offer is not one. You should know that the varicella vaccine IS a live virus, however, it is an extremely weakened strain.
Since you didn't react well to the flu vaccine which ISN'T a live virus, I would be nervous for you to take the varicella. It's hard to tell with this disease what is a true trigger and what is just conicidence when it comes to our flares. I would just tell your doctor of all your concerns. If they're a good doctor, they'll listen and hopefully come up with alternate options for you.
Tell as more about the Boilogic treatment
@A myRAteam Member Keep me posted on how it goes! And I feel you about the rheumatologist. I only have one option in my area and I can't stand the guy!
Dear @A myRAteam Member
Thank you for your comment and advice. Yes, I am extremely nervous about having it, hence the delay in having the varicella vaccine. I will speak with him again, although he is so busy and is in Sydney. He is very abrupt so maybe a need to find another Rheumy although they are very scarce!
thanks again :-)