Vaccine and travelling
I plan to travel after my transplant. Some of the countries I want to visit require vaccination. Should I have these vaccines before my transplant, even though I’m quite ill?
It is important to consider that following a lung (or any organ) transplant, immunosuppressive drug therapy is administered to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ. Consequently, vaccination with live viruses or even live attenuated viruses is contraindicated. Before transplantation, however, even if your lung condition is poor, there is no immunosuppression, so there are no contraindications to vaccinations. I therefore advise you to update all the childhood vaccinations you may have missed: measles, mumps and rubella, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, before your transplant. The chicken pox vaccine could also be included if you have never had that disease. For travel, you should add vaccines for tropical diseases, such as yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis, depending on your destination.
However, following your transplant, I would not recommend that you travel to countries where medical care is rare or non-existent. Even if transplant patients are physically fit at first, it should never be forgotten that they are always in an immune suppressed state, so they are more vulnerable than the general population to unusual infections.