I’m a 17-year myeloma survivor, and I currently do not get the flu shot, mostly due to my immune system and the fact that chemotherapy further diminishes immune response. I know that other myeloma patients get flu shots annually, so what’s the answer?
The information from two Quality of Life sessions presented at ASH provided me with key points to discuss with my myeloma specialist.
First, there is a benefit for myeloma patients that receive the high dose of flu vaccine, followed by a booster at 30 days. The booster would extend the length of protection throughout the long flu season. This study was done over two flu seasons (2015-2016.)
Second, by using levofloxacin prophylactically for 12 weeks when undergoing treatment, it reduced fevers and deaths without increasing infections. It’s not always the myeloma, but infections that can get you. So, if you’re on treatment that lowers your immune system, you may want to discuss with your specialist if taking levofloxacin may be wise for you.
For me, with my lower white count/immune system, maybe it’s time to start getting flu shots!