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Thursday, May 23, 2013
Flu Pandemic and Weakened Immune System
I am taking Methotrexate, NSAID, Prednisone and Orencia for my rheumatoid arthritis. I normally get the flu shot every year. If there is a pandemic will there be a vaccine and would I be considered a high risk and be one of the first people to get the shot?
Thank you for your excellent question. If a particular type of influenza looks like it might cause a pandemic, many people will be working to create a pandemic flu vaccine. I cannot answer your question as to whether or not a vaccine will definitely be available when pandemic influenza occurs. However, researchers are currently working on being able to create a vaccine quickly if needed. I recommend that you ask your personal physician if you are considered high risk and if you should get a pandemic flu vaccine when one becomes available. If pandemic influenza occurs, it is likely that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with state health departments will decide how to distribute the vaccine so that high risk people can be vaccinated as quickly as possible.
John Andrews, MD, MPH
Assistant Senior Vice President Medical Center
Director University Health Services
University of Cincinnati