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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Cancer and Blood Disorders

Updates

Updated Visitor Information During Flu Season

During flu season, we may change our visitor policy at the hospital in order to best protect our patients. We recommend that you check here before visiting or call the hospital to inquire about any restrictions.

Current Information

The circulating influenza viruses change every year, and we don't yet know much about how this flu season will present in North America. Please know that these recommendations will evolve as we monitor emerging developments locally and around the world. Check back for current information.

  • Hematology and oncology patients are to receive the seasonal flu vaccine unless medical contraindications exist.
  • Contraindications and precautions to flu shots include:
    • Persons who have experienced a severe allergic reaction to a prior dose of influenza vaccine, or who are known to have a severe allergy to a vaccine component (such as egg protein) should not be vaccinated.
    • Vaccination should be deferred for a person with moderate or severe acute illness until his/her condition improves.
    • The use of live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) is contraindicated in persons with a chronic disease that constitutes an increased risk when exposed to wild influenza virus (e.g. asthma, heart and renal disease, diabetes), pregnant women, immunosuppressed persons, children younger than 2 years and adults older than 49 years.
    • A history of Guillain-Barré syndrome occurring within 6 weeks of previous influenza vaccine is a precaution for TIV and LAIV. [Source: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/acip/shouldnot.htm]
  • If possible, vaccination should occur either 2 weeks before receiving chemotherapy or between chemotherapy cycles.
  • Live-attenuated influenza vaccines (i.e., the intranasal vaccines) are contraindicated in hematology and oncology patients.
  • As inpatients, the vaccines will be administered unless (1) the patient has already received the vaccines for the current influenza season (2) contraindications exist or (3) the physician specifically states not to administer the vaccine(s).

Influenza Vaccination Recommendations for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Patients

  • Stem cell transplant patients are to receive the seasonal flu vaccine if they are more than one month post-transplant unless medical contraindications exist.
  • Contraindications and precautions to both flu shots include:
    • Persons who have experienced a severe allergic reaction to a prior dose of influenza vaccine, or who are known to have a severe allergy to a vaccine component (such as egg protein) should not be vaccinated.
    • Vaccination should be deferred for a person with moderate or severe acute illness until his/her condition improves.
    • The use of live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) is contraindicated in persons with a chronic disease that constitutes an increased risk when exposed to wild influenza virus (e.g. asthma, heart and renal disease, diabetes), pregnant women, immunosuppressed persons, children younger than 2 years and adults older than 49 years.
    • A history of Guillain-Barré syndrome occurring within 6 weeks of previous influenza vaccine is a precaution for TIV and LAIV. [Source: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/acip/shouldnot.htm]
  • Live-attenuated influenza vaccines (i.e., the intranasal vaccines) are contraindicated in stem cell transplant patients.
  • As inpatients, the vaccines will be offered to those who are more than one month post-transplant unless (1) the patient has already received the vaccines for the current influenza season (2) contraindications exist or (3) the physician specifically states not to administer the vaccine(s).

For Physicians

Influenza Flier - Oncology (pdf) 

Last UpdateJune 9, 2011
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