Vaccination Recommendations

Current recommendations for people with a neuromuscular disease (NMD) are for the ANNUAL FLU VACCINE and PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINES. Even if you already get the flu vaccine you should talk to your GP about getting the pneumococcal vaccination as well. If necessary please take the following information with you and show them.

Household contacts of people being treated with immunosuppressive drugs, for example, corticosteroids should also be vaccinated. 

Before initiating corticosteroid therapy, immunisation against varicella (chickenpox) should be considered.

For more detailed clinical information click here

How do I get the vaccine?

These vaccinations are available through your General Practitioner.  

In NZ at risk populations including those with NMD are given the flu vaccine free.

Current funding for the pneumococcal vaccine is limited and there may be a cost associated with this. If you are 17 or younger and being treated with immunosupression drugs (for example corticosteroids) you should receive this vaccine free of charge, please see the table below to see if any other risk factors apply to you. Adults 18 years or older are not currently funded but the vaccine is available to you. Please talk to your GP.

If you are 17 or younger and have any of the following complications then the pneumococcal vaccine is available free of charge:

vaccinationtable.PNG

Table sourced from  http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/immunisation-handbook-2014 11-02-2016

Vaccination Recommendations for Patients with Neuromuscular Disease

Published in 2014 in Vaccine by a group of Italian Scientific Societies these recommendations have been made because neuromuscular disease (NMD) include a wide variety of conditions and because they share a common increased risk of infections which have a serious health impact on individuals, vaccination is the simplest and most effective way to protect NMD patients from vaccine-preventable infections. 

NMD patients can be classified into two groups according to NMD based on their level of immunity and be vaccinated accordingly.

  • Patients with normal immunity who do not take immunosuppressive therapy can be vaccinated as healthy subjects.

  • Patients who are immunocompromised, including those who are taking immunosuppressive therapy, should receive inactivated vaccines as well as the influenza and pneumococcal vaccines; these patients should not be administered live attenuated vaccines.

For all NMD patients, the efficacy and long-term persistence of vaccines may be lower than in normal subjects. Household contacts of immunocompromised NMD patients should also be vaccinated. For the full text article that this information was sourced which includes details about what the current recommended vaccination programme for various NMDs is please  click here