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chickenpox vaccine - safe to take?

Messages
4
I'm new here, desperately trying to find opinions.

I've had CFS since age 8. (I'm now 30.) And I never had chickenpox as a child. (Neither did my Dad or my grandfather, despite the fact that we were all exposed.) I always assumed that I had some sort of immunity.

But now, I'm getting married in a couple months, and as part of the pre-conception workup, I got tested for immunity to many things, including chickenpox. And it came out negative, showing no immunity at all.

Puzzling.

And now, I don't know what the heck to DO!!

My initial CFS crash, at age 8, was preceded by a combined childhood vaccine + flu shot administered together. And a second crash, which left me housebound for 3 years and made me miss 10th-12th grades, was also preceded by a flu shot. (Makes me VERY wary of vaccines, especially live ones.)

Anyone know how folks with CFS tend to handle the chickenpox vaccine??? :confused:
 

SOC

Senior Member
Messages
7,849
I'm new here, desperately trying to find opinions.

I've had CFS since age 8. (I'm now 30.) And I never had chickenpox as a child. (Neither did my Dad or my grandfather, despite the fact that we were all exposed.) I always assumed that I had some sort of immunity.

But now, I'm getting married in a couple months, and as part of the pre-conception workup, I got tested for immunity to many things, including chickenpox. And it came out negative, showing no immunity at all.

Puzzling.

And now, I don't know what the heck to DO!!

My initial CFS crash, at age 8, was preceded by a combined childhood vaccine + flu shot administered together. And a second crash, which left me housebound for 3 years and made me miss 10th-12th grades, was also preceded by a flu shot. (Makes me VERY wary of vaccines, especially live ones.)

Anyone know how folks with CFS tend to handle the chickenpox vaccine??? :confused:

Live virus vaccines are contraindicated for people with ME/CFS.

My daughter, who spent the first 4 years with ME/CFS largely in remission had a bad crash as a result of a chicken pox vaccine. The GP told us it would be "no problem at all". She deteriorated from remission to moderate-severe and was near to dropping out of college. Fortunately for her, we found a doctor who would give her Valcyte therapy which got her back in remission after 20 months of Valcyte.

I strongly urge you not to get any live virus vaccines without consulting an ME/CFS specialist. In fact, if you are planning on starting a family you should be in the care of a specialist who has some idea of the impact of pregnancy on ME/CFS.

You sound like you might be someone with serious immune issues (aren't we all?) -- no antibodies to chicken pox for one thing, crashes from vaccines for another. I suggest you find yourself an ME/CFS specialist who will do and immune workup -- Drs Klimas/Rey, Dr Enlander, and probably others. Other members can probably suggest some others.
 

silicon

Senior Member
Messages
148
I know several PWCs who have had vaccines (tetanus, flu, H1N1) and experienced setbacks as a result. It just doesn't seem worth the risk, in my opinion...unless there is some super-compelling reason (which I can't really imagine). I don't plan to ever take another vaccine!
 

heapsreal

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Messages
10,072
Location
australia (brisbane)
chickenpox was the main infection that started my cfs. It can be life threatening if it effects the lungs or causes a meningittis, generally its a worse infection for adults. As for vaccines, in my case i dont know if it would have helped me as i got chickenpox as a kid and then at 31 when i got cfs, so u would think i would have produced antibodies from the infection as a kid but in many cfsers our immune system struggles to make adequate antibodies. Also of interest was that my daughter got chicken pox the same time i did 10 yrs ago when she was 2, 6 months ago she got chicken pox again. I will tell you i was paranoid about getting it again as it was terrible to get chickenpox as an adult. I may have been protected as i am on antivirals that would have helped me against this infection. My daughter got antivirals this second time 2 days after onset and it nipped it in the bud. It helped her recover alot quicker(maybe prevent cfs??) and probably prevented me from getting it for a third time. The other thing u can get is shingles from chickenpox, i reckon im going to be a first class candidate for that too??

cheers!!!
 

alex3619

Senior Member
Messages
13,810
Location
Logan, Queensland, Australia
Hi TraderTif, the fact you have no immunity to chickenpox may not mean the same thing for you as an average person. One of the problems we face is that after disease or vaccines we don't always develop immunity, and sometimes we can lose immunity we used to have. The evidence for this is mostly anecdotal at this point, it needs a really good study to investigate it. However, if you get vaccinated you not only risk a relapse, you also may not develop immunity. This means the downside risk is higher, and the upside benefit is lower, than for an average person. It changes the risk-benefit profile, and my guess is that for must of us with ME or CFS this means we should not be vaccinated. Bye, Alex
 
Messages
76
Location
Australia
Alex has come up with a valid point - vaccines rarely work when your ME symptoms are in over drive.

However chicken pox during pregnancy is a killer for both mum and bub, it's a risk you have to way up as to whether to get vaccine or not. From memory it's a 2-course vaccine treatment.
 

SOC

Senior Member
Messages
7,849
Alex has come up with a valid point - vaccines rarely work when your ME symptoms are in over drive.

However chicken pox during pregnancy is a killer for both mum and bub, it's a risk you have to way up as to whether to get vaccine or not. From memory it's a 2-course vaccine treatment.

Another reason to hook up with a top ME/CFS clinician prior to becoming pregnant. You need to get the best possible advice about the risks and benefits of a number of things, including vaccines.
 

Athene

ihateticks.me
Messages
1,143
Location
Italy
I don't know specifically about chicken pox, but I had this same dilemma with rubella before getting pregnant.
THey tested me and I had no immunity. Yet I had had this illness three times and been vaccinated once. The doctor said "We must vaccinate you" and I asked "What is the likelihood that the vaccine will actually work this time?" and he said "Yes, erm, let's not bother".

I similarly failed to acquire immunity to mumps (had that twice) and whooping cough (vaccinated and then had that too).
This is one of the problems with PWCs and vaccines. Either they don't work, or they make us relapse.

For my own part, I think the chicken pox one is a no-brainer. Getting chicken pox in the first or third trimester can harm the baby, but so can having shingles. Anyone who already has immunity to chicken pox can develop shingles, so even if they HAD found chicken pox immunity, you would not be safe from this. You just need to do what all pregnant women do, and keep well away from sick people throughout your pregnancy.
As a person with CFS you need to do this anyway to avoid common things like colds, which can last ages and could stunt the baby's growth for example.