Should I be vaccinated?

We recommend that patients be vaccinated against influenza and possibly pneumcoccus It is preferable to vaccinate (before start of chemotherapy if possible)  against influenza (even swine flu) and also pnemokock vaccination could be discussed.

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Immuno-compromised patients often experience more severe symptoms from the flu.  The best option is to get vaccinated two weeks before the start of chemotherapy, if possible. It takes about two weeks to develop maximum protection against influenza. There is some question whether vaccination is as effective once chemotherapy has started.  For patients who have started their treatment, flu vaccination should be given about 1-2 weeks before the next course of treatment. Flu vaccination does not affect the cancer or the effectiveness of the chemotherapy.

If you are older than 65 or have heart disease, we also recommend vaccination against pneumococcal (bacterial pneumonia).