Vaccination and autoimmune rheumatic diseases

Autoimmun Rev. 2008 Dec;8(2):124-8. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2008.07.007.


Patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases are at increased risk of developing infections. However, concerns about the safety and the immunogenicity of vaccines in these patients limited their use. Most of the data against the use of vaccines come from the reported cases of previously healthy individuals who presented the onset of rheumatic diseases after immunization, nevertheless a causal relationship has not been established. During the past few decades influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, administered to patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, were found to be safe and, generally, serologically effective, even though there is the possibility of inadequate response, especially in patients receiving immunosuppressive agents. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis influenza and pneumococcal vaccines can be considered safe and immunogenic in most cases. Treatment with TNFalpha blocking agents did not appear to impair the immune response.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Influenza Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / immunology
  • Rheumatic Diseases / immunology*
  • Vaccination / adverse effects*


  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines