Immunizations and IBD
In general, children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should receive their vaccines on the same schedule as other children.
However, be aware that medicines used to treat IBD such as corticosteroids (e.g. prednisone), 6-mercaptopurine ( e.g. 6MP, Purinethol® ) azathioprine (e.g. Imuran® and Azasan®), cyclosporine, methotrexate, infliximab (Remicade®) and adalimubab (Humira®) all suppress the immune system.
The immune system is the body’s way of fighting disease. It does this by forming antibodies (disease-fighting cells) to specific bacteria and viruses when they cause an infection. When a vaccine is given, the immune system forms antibodies in the same way. If the immune system is suppressed it may not form enough antibodies after a vaccine is given to fight off a disease.
If your child is on an immunosuppressive medication, be sure to let your doctor know before your child is vaccinated.
If your child has IBD and is not taking any immunosuppressant medicines, then there are no restrictions placed on receiving vaccinations. In fact, it may be even more important for children with IBD to be fully vaccinated in order to prevent infection. (Infections can sometimes lead to flare-ups of IBD.) Live Vaccines such as the MMR, Chicken Pox and nasal Flu vaccination, are generally NOT recommended to be given to children on immunosuppressant medications. The Flu “shot” is okay to be given. In fact, a yearly flu-shot can help keep your child healthy.
If you have any concerns about vaccine safety, consult your pediatrician.