Varicella Vaccine

Varicella Vaccine

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

A myRAteam Member said:

Hello Folks,

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

posted over 2 years ago
A myRAteam Member said:

Hi Tracy~
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.

posted over 2 years ago
A myRAteam Member said:

Tell as more about the Boilogic treatment

posted over 2 years ago
A myRAteam Member said:

@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!

posted over 2 years ago
A myRAteam Member said:

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 :-)

posted over 2 years ago
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