At around this time each year in Australia, many ITP patients ask their primary care professional, whether it’s their GP or haematologist if they should be getting the annual influenza vaccine and there are always varying responses.
To seek some clarification, we’ve asked our medical advisors located in Australia what their recommendations are.
“Should I get the flu shot?”
Overwhelmingly, of our advisors indicated that yes, they recommend their ITP patients receive the influenza vaccine each year.
“Why would my health care professional say no to the influenza vaccine?”
Each patient’s ITP journey is different. In saying this, the influenza vaccine is NOT a live vaccine and therefore there are no contraindications* for ITP patients.
Some patients are concerned that their platelets will fall once they have the vaccine. There is no definitive answer to this question. Our medical advisors indicate that their recommendation is still to have the influenza vaccine.
“I’ve heard that I can receive the influenza vaccine for free. Is that true?”
Some ITP patients are eligible for a free influenza vaccine. Eligibility includes ITP patients:
- that have undergone a splenectomy
- that are actively on immunosuppressants
- treated with Rituximab in the last 12 months
There are other possible exemptions for patients with stable and untreated ITP. Exemptions are determined by the primary health care professional. To find out more, view the National Immunisation Program here. There is also further information specific to the influenza vaccine here.
Each state also has its own vaccination schedule. You can find the links below for each state.
“How do I get the influenza vaccine for free?”
If you’re eligible, it’s best to organise your immunisation through your GP.
If you are ineligible, the vaccine is available through various practitioners including chemists for around $20.
Have more questions? Email us at info@ITPAustralia.org.au
- National Immunisation Program
- Influenza Immunisation Service
- State Immunisation schedules
- 2020 Immunisation program influenza vaccine – clinical advice for vaccine providers
* contraindication – something (such as a symptom or condition) that makes a particular treatment or procedure inadvisable