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Immunosuppression & Vaccines

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  • Immunosuppression & Vaccines

    Hi, I'm waiting for a kidney transplant and have had something on my mind for a while. My husband's sister has a 5-year-old daughter and another one on the way and her and her husband are choosing not to vaccinate their kids. My husband and I had tried on numerous occasions to have a conversation with his sister about the risks unvaccinated children could potentially cause me post-transplant, but we've been shut out every time. We just learned that they are trying to file for an exemption from vaccines for her kid to go to school this year, so it seems like they are set on their decision.
    I'm at a loss as far as what to do. I've heard from my doctors and nurses from just stay away from people who are visibly sick (a runny nose, fever, etc) to absolutely no contact with unvaccinated children post-transplant. Can anyone tell me what your experience has been posted transplant and what your doctors have told you to do as far as close contacts and vaccination?
    My concern is the following: something like the measles might not show any symptoms for weeks, and knowing my niece isn't vaccinated I don't feel comfortable putting myself in a risky situation if she's sick with something like that.

  • #2
    Post transplant four months ago. Just inform the family that your health is important and when you get a new kidney life changes are put in place. You will not be able to be in contact with the kids should they get sick. You can't forced them to do anything they chose not to do. You start with educating them about your health risk and precautions when you have the transplant. Then you lovingly share the things you need to be careful for but you can't force family if they lack compassion and understanding.


    • #3
      I am currently pre-transplant, and I wanted to share something that you are not told, but you might care.

      Once you are on immunosuppressants, you will not have the option of getting a vaccine with a live virus. For me, 50 years old, getting the shingles vaccine is recommended, because I have had chicken pox. Since the shingles vaccine contains the live virus, you cannot get it after transplant.
      They don't bring it up, but if you ask, they will tell you to get this vaccine if you have had the chicken pox.
      You can, however get the COVID 19 vaccine before or after transplant, if you are so inclined, because it does not contain a live virus.


      • #4
        Prior to transplant I was given a book with details about the procedure by my renal team. It also contained a detailed list of the possible medications I would be on along with the possible side effects.
        At the back of that book was a list of recommended vaccinations. I had a year to get all of these done first. Unfortunately, not all transplant centres follow the same protocols for potential transplant patients. It should be included with any literature a transplant centre gives to pre transplant patients so they are aware and can take care of these first.


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