The MGFA has provided information regarding vaccinations, including the flu vaccine, for people who have MG. MGFA stated, “It is generally believed that vaccinations (e.g. influenza) are safe in patients with MG (with a major caveat below). The evidence suggests that vaccine-related worsening of MG is rare and thus most MG specialists believe the benefits of immunization outweigh any small risk related to possible transient worsening of MG symptoms.” Also provided was the following exception/caveat:
If you are taking immunosuppressive medication, such as Prednisone, Azathioprine or Mycophenolate, it is usually recommended that you avoid live, attenuated vaccines. Examples of live, attenuated vaccines include the shingles vaccine and the nasal spray form of the influenza vaccine (the influenza injection is inactivated and thus not alive, so it is much safer in immunosuppressed patients). You need to discuss this with any doctor when considering a vaccine.
If you are not sure, you should ask your doctor if you are taking immunosuppressive drugs and, if so, if the vaccine is safe in that setting. It’s worth noting that most vaccines are inactivated (e.g. dead), but because there are a few vaccines that are alive and attenuated (i.e. the pathogen is alive but not very virulent and thus immunizes the patient without causing the disease) and because the live, attenuated vaccines carry higher risk for those who are immunosuppressed, this technicality about vaccines is important and is always worth consideration. As always, please consult your physician regarding your individual case.
2014 MGFA Scientific Session Held in Savannah, Georgia
The “Disability Connection” November issue features long term care. To view the article, go to: 10 Things You Should Know about Long-Term Care The September issue contains information about “10 Ways to Make Safety a Priority.” The information is valuable throughout the year. To view the newsletter, click on
On November 01, 2014 President Obama issued a proclamation declaring that November 2014 is “National Family Caregivers Month.” The official proclamation begins with this statement:
HHS pursues detection tests for influenza
In October HHS announced that “Potential tests to help doctors diagnose influenza sooner and more accurately will advance in development under contracts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). The tests could help boost influenza pandemic preparedness by increasing diagnostic capabilities in near-patient care settings such as doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals.” For more information, click on:
Sign up for text message alerts. We’ll send you updates and reminders so you don’t miss important deadlines.”
Planning for the 2015 WHCoA is underway. According to the WHCoA director, Nora Super, “The Conference is designed to assist the public and private sectors to be responsive to the needs of a diverse aging population and to promote the dignity and independence of and expand opportunities for current and future generations of older persons and their families.” The public is invited to sign up for weekly updates about the 2015 Conference and participate in listening sessions and webinars that will be held in Washington, DC, and around the country leading up to the conference. These sessions will be an opportunity for conference planners to hear stories and thoughts about the issues and actions that are most important to members of the public. For information about activities and events as they unfold, go to Join our mailing list » For access to the WHCoA website go to http://www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov/
National Health Council (NHC)
The mission of the NHC, of which MGFA is a member, is to provide a united voice for the millions of people living with chronic diseases and disabilities and their family caregivers. Through its Putting Patients First: Understanding Your Health Coverage Options initiative, NHC provides useful guides for individuals shopping for health insurance. NHC states: “Whether shopping for a car, or a computer, or health insurance, having choices can be a good thing. But if you don’t have all the information you need to do an accurate side-by-side comparison – or the information isn’t presented in a way to make it easy to compare – the decision process becomes very frustrating.” To assist in understanding this process, the NHC provides guidance on its web site at http://www.nationalhealthcouncil.org/