Vaccinations for rheumatoid arthritis

Marcia A. Friedman, Kevin Winthrop

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients experience increased infectious disease-related morbidity and mortality, and vaccinations represent an important element in their care. However, vaccine immunogenicity can be affected by disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy, such that vaccine choice and timing can be clinically challenging. We review the indications, safety, and immunogenicity of vaccines in the setting of RA. Recent findings Recent recommendations highlight the use of influenza, pneumococcal, and shingles vaccines in RA patients. Studies suggest influenza and pneumococcal vaccines are underutilized, but well tolerated in RA patients and generally immunogenic during DMARD use with the exception of rituximab. Though data for other nonlive vaccines are more limited, hepatitis B virus and human papilloma virus vaccines also appear well tolerated and immunogenic in this population. Live vaccines for shingles and yellow fever remain contraindicated in some RA patients; however, limited data suggest they might be well tolerated in certain individuals. Summary The review updates rheumatologists on the optimal use and timing of routine vaccinations in the care of RA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-336
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in rheumatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Influenza
  • Pneumococcal pneumonia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Shingles
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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