BY PAUL KLEUTGHEN Should myeloma patients get re-vaccinated after stem cell transplant? Experts say there are benefits in doing so. An article was published last week coming from this year’s Oncology Nursing Society’s Annual Conference that was titled “Guideline-driven Initiative Improves Pneumococcal Vaccination Rates Among aHSCT Recipients”, authored by Joyce Pagan, May 4, 2017. Of course, aHSCT, stands for autologous hematopeitic stem cell transplant. There are several interesting comments made in this article :
I was surprised to read that only about one quarter of SCT patients complete the pneumococcal vaccine series. Before my tandem auto-SCT at the Duke Adult Bone Marrow Transplant center I was told that all my childhood vaccinations (and others received later in life) would be wiped out from the transplants and, that post-transplant, I would be receiving a whole bank of revaccinations spread over several years. Just out of curiosity I checked the practices at a few other large transplant centers that I could readily find through internet searches. Let me share a few here :
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided very extensive guidance on this topic titled “Guidelines for Preventing Opportunistic Infections Among Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Recipients” This link takes you directly to a table of recommended immunizations that looks very similar to the MD Anderson table. This table is part of quite a lengthy, though very interesting, document that will give you some food for thought if you have not yet been revaccinated yet post-transplant. Practices may vary from MM treatment center to center but, if you have not yet been revaccinated post SCT, you may with to discuss this topic with the physician(s) who treat/manage your disease.
about the author
I am a patient diagnosed in 2014 with primary plasma cell leukemia (pPCL), a rare and aggressive variant of multiple myeloma and have been very fortunate to find successful treatment at the division of Cellular Therapy at the Duke University Cancer Institute. My wife, Vicki, and I have two adult children and two grandsons who are the ‘lights of our lives’. Successful treatment has allowed Vicki and I to do what we love best : traveling the world, albeit it with some extra precautions to keep infections away. My career in the pharmaceutical industry has given me insights that I am currently putting to use as an advocate to lower drug pricing, especially prices for anti-cancer drugs. I am a firm believer that staying mentally active, physically fit, compliant to our treatment regimen and taking an active interest in our disease are keys to successful treatment outcomes.