Flu jab?

Hiya guys, hope you’re all as well as can be!

I’ve been told to get the flu jab done, but I’m not too sure probably as I don’t know much about it apart from a lot of elderly people get it done(forgive my ignorance!).

Has anybody had it done, has it helped or made a positive change?

Any help would be great!



The problem with the flu jab is that it does not vaccinate you against many of the vast number of flu viruses you could come into contact with and of course as with any medical procedure it is not risk free.

However if you get the flu it could make your MS worse.

The interesting thing with the flu vaccine is as you say one of the key groups is the elderly and the Cochrane Collaboration say there is little evidence that this is any benefit to them.

Here is a write up based on the Cochrane Collaboration reports which you can view on line yourself if you wish.


All the best what ever you decide to do.

Hi Zak

People who don’t have the flu vaccine increase the possibility that they will get the flu, this might go on to become pneumonia and this might be fatal. With MS your immune ystem is compromised so the chances of this happening increase.

This is a no brainer as far as I am concerned.

P.S. It is also worth having the pneumonia jab.

Having suffered a severe bout of flu this last winter which then turned into pneumonia which nearly killed me I would STRONGLY recommend the flu jab. I was in hospital for 10 days and on IV antibiotics for a week and then on oral antibitocs for another 2 weeks. It took me about a month to fully recover from the pneumonia and I have never been so ill in my life.
Here in Australia the flu jab is free for people with a chronic illness and normally I have it every year but because I was so sick with other things in the autumn it slipped my mind and I paid severely for it.

Ignore David’s comments about it making you worse. It won’t. But the flu will make your MS worse and pneumonia can kill you.



There have been loads of studies done into MS and the flu vaccine. The recommendation from these is that people with MS should have it: the risks from flu are far greater than the risks from the vaccine. I’ve had the vaccine for the past three years and had no trouble at all. Most importantly, I also didn’t get the flu - and that’s despite the rest of my family getting it! Absolute no brainer for me too. If a UTI can send my symptoms nuts, I don’t ever want to experience what the flu could do! (Btw, I believe that the vaccine is changed as necessary each year to account for what type of flu is going round.) Karen x

Not sure why you all want this person to ignore the risk that catching flu might make MS worse. Surely if true that is one of the reasons for people with MS to have the flu vaccine.

Our GP practice does not offer flu vaccine to those with MS but those who ask for it are given it so far as I know.

The problem is a risk versus benefit issue and the problem is that whilst they do change it each year based on predictions made before the flu season they may get that wrong and anyway it does not protect against all the flu viruses that are around which is why the Cochran Collaboration are not that enthusiastic about it for any age group.

As for specific data on MS and vaccine a clear picture is difficult to obtain. Almost pick the paper that agrees with what you want to do.




As I say a difficult decision.

All the best whatever you decide to do.

You must have misread our posts David. We are saying anything but!

Incidentally, all three of those links you provide are in favour of people with MS having the vaccine. Seems a pretty clear picture to me!

However, if the Cochrane Collaboration have something different to say about the flu vaccine and MS, I’d love to read about it - can you provide a link because I can find nothing about it on their website?

Hi Zak, you’ll just have to width up the evidence for yourself and make a decision that seems right for you. You asked if it helped or has made a positive change. I dont think you’ll ever be able to tell if it helps or not. It is supposed to prevent you getting some strains of flu but only a few strains of flu, reports about how effective it is vary but it certainly is not 100% effective or anywhere near that. So you could have the flu jab and not get flu and think it has worked great but then you might NOT have got flu anyway. I’ve never had the flu jab and never had flu. If I had had the flu jab I might have assumed that it had worked well for me but of course that is not the case, since I have never had it. So I think you will find it hard to quantify any benefits from it. Cheryl:-)

Hi Zak,

The flu vaccine is not a live vaccine so it can’t harm you, each year it changes because they can only vaccinate against so many. They put in what the predictions for that year are regarding the different viruses and hope they get it right but it can’t cover you 100%.

However flu can turn to pneumonia which can kill even the fittest of people never mind people with MS and weak immune systems. I have been having the flu vaccine for years before I started with MS because I worked as a nurse in a hospital setting and witnessed first hand what a devestating illness it can be for some people and even fatal.

Now I have MS it is a no brainer, protecting our weak immune systems is essential as any infection tends to bring on a relapse so I wouldn’t want the flu on top of that as well.

Hope this helps.


l think the pneumonia vaccine is important - lts a one off - you do not have to have it repeated every year.


Wow, that’s a lot of feedback! Thanks a lot guys, I think I’ll have to take it into serious consideration!