Immunizations and IBD

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.

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In this book, medical experts explain all you need to know about IBD and answer important questions, including:

  • What are inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis?
• Is there a cure for IBD?
  • How is IBD going to affect my child’s daily life?
  • Will my child’s diet change?
  • Can my child still play sports?
  • Will my child need surgery?
  • What are the side effects of commonly prescribed medications?
  • What challenges may my child face at school and socially, especially as he or she grows older?

To purchase: Please go to the Johns Hopkins Press Website.


Educational support for the NASPGHAN Foundation’s Pediatric IBD Education Campaign was provided by major sponsors P&G Pharmaceuticals, Shire, UCB Inc. and Centocor, Inc. Additional support for the campaign was provided by Prometheus Therapeutics and Diagnostics and Abbott.

North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
The Association of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Nurses
North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Foundation
The NASPGHAN Council For Pediatric Nutrition Professionals
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