When Receiving Chemotherapy, Are Vaccines Safe and Effective?


It is critical that the immune system in our bodies is working properly for vaccines to be safe and effective to use. Chemotherapy drugs, which target cancer cells, but occasionally also have the potential to harm immune system cells that help our bodies recognize and fight infections, are used to treat cancer. Vaccines may not work as well as they should because of this immune system impairment. You might not be able to receive some immunizations, either, without risk.

How Do Vaccinations Function?

By identifying a specific marker on the pathogen, known as an antigen, your immune system is prepared to recognize and combat a pathogen, such as a virus or bacteria. Older vaccines function by carrying an inactivated antigen or a weakened portion of the antigen. Some more recent vaccinations function by giving instructions on how to create an antigen that resembles the pathogen.

Regardless of the vaccine’s type, the vaccine’s effectiveness depends on your immune system recognizing this antigen and using it to trigger a response. Then it stores in your cell memory. Because, in the future, if you come into contact with the pathogen, your body will be able to quickly identify it.

Also, your body keeps you from contracting the disease. Your body may not produce the immunological response under conditions where your immune system is not functioning as effectively. For instance, when you are receiving chemotherapy, it may require higher dosages to produce the same level of reaction.

When Should I Get a Vaccine If I Do Chemotherapy?

The sort of chemotherapy and vaccine you are receiving will have a significant impact on this. Before starting chemotherapy, your doctor could advise getting the necessary vaccinations. Your doctor might advise waiting a specific amount of time after finishing the treatment before receiving some immunizations. Before receiving any vaccinations while receiving chemotherapy, it’s crucial to discuss this with your doctor.

During the Flu Season, Should I Stop My Chemotherapy?

You can talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the suggestions that will keep you safe. Never stop receiving chemotherapy without consulting your doctor first. The COVID-19 vaccination may give to you while you are undergoing treatment. Because even a small immune response may help to stop serious hospitalization or worse.

It will be advisable that you get a COVID-19 vaccine booster after the completion of your treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting the flu shot is safe to do 14 days before chemotherapy begins. Also, it may be in between chemotherapy cycles depending on your situation, and three months after chemotherapy is over.


Before receiving any vaccinations if you are receiving chemotherapy, consult with your doctor or pharmacist. Without first consulting, your doctor does not discontinue receiving chemotherapy.