Influenza Vaccine and ITP

Please note that this general advice on the influenza vaccine has been written by one of the Association’s medical advisors, Dr John Grainger, but it does not replace any advice given to you by your consultant or GP who knows you and your ITP.

The influenza vaccine has been linked to the development of ITP in a small number of adults and may cause a dip in platelet counts in children or adults receiving the vaccine. However, the risks are higher for children (or adults) who are unvaccinated and develop influenza.

Newly diagnosed ITP (Within 3 months of diagnosis)
My preference is to avoid the ‘flu vaccine unless there are other co-existing medical conditions, such as cardiac disease or asthma.

Persistent or chronic ITP (after 3 months from diagnosis)
The ‘flu vaccine can be administered. Patients should be aware that there is a small risk of a platelet drop in the 4 weeks following vaccination so may wish to consider timing if there are any planned operations, dental procedures or overseas holidays.

Live vaccine (nasal) or Inactivated vaccine (intramuscular)
Patients who have been on steroids in the last 28 days or rituximab in the past 12 months should not receive the live vaccine. For patients receiving the inactivated vaccine by IM injection there is a need for firm pressure to be applied over the site of injection for at least 10 minutes.

We are grateful to Dr John Grainger for his assistance on this page. Updated 25th September 201