The Swine Flu: Information For Our Patients, Especially Those On Immunosuppressive Treatments


Michael D. Lockshin, MD

Attending Rheumatologist, Hospital for Special Surgery
Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
Director, Barbara Volcker Center for Women and Rheumatic Disease

Theodore R. Fields, MD, FACP

Attending Physician, Hospital for Special Surgery
Professor of Clinical Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College

Stephen A. Paget, MD, FACP, FACR

Physician-in-Chief Emeritus, Hospital for Special Surgery

Barry D. Brause, MD
Attending Physician, Hospital for Special Surgery
Clinical Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Regarding the H1N1 ("swine flu") vaccine:  Patients on immunosuppressive therapy should use only the killed vaccine (injected) and not the live, attenuated (inhaled) version. Speak with your rheumatologist about whether this vaccine is appropriate for you.
  • If you are about to begin an immunosuppressive agent, discuss the H1N1 vaccine with your rheumatologist.
  • The H1N1 vaccine is now available to the entire American population, other than children less than six months, if felt appropriate by their physician.
  • The seasonal influenza vaccine you may have received in 2008 or in 2009 is not protective against this swine flu infection.
  • We will be following the Department of Health recommendations.
  • Keep up to date on the swine flu at the Centers for Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/index.htm.
  • Another useful source is the New York State Department of Health website: http://www.health.state.ny.us/.
  • For those in the New York City area, the NYC Department of Health also has a helpful website: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/home/home.shtml.
  • Another useful website is: http://www.flu.gov/.

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