The Importance of Vaccines with Hepatitis C
Last updated: March 2021
A proactive step towards taking care of your liver is to guard against other conditions and disease. Fighting hepatitis C is already hard work for your body’s immune system and other illness can throw things in disarray. Think about an army in battle against the enemy and suddenly they fall under attack from another enemy from a different direction.
What immunizations & vaccines should I get as an adult?
You want a healthy body and strong immune system in order to fight the very best. Our immune system and body need all the assistance we can give and vaccines and immunizations are an important way to help our body support our liver. Vaccinations and immunizations are important, no matter where you are in your fight with hepatitis C and regardless of your treatment status.
It’s important to get an annual flu shot, pneumonia shots depending on your age, shingles vaccines, and hepatitis A & hepatitis B vaccines (these are separate vaccines).
Why should I be vaccinated for hepatitis A & B?
If you’ve never had the vaccine for hepatitis A and/or B, you can become infected with any type of hepatitis at the same time. The hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines protect you from three hepatitis types: A, B, and D. For example, if you have hepatitis C and did not receive the vaccine for hepatitis A, and you are exposed, you can what is called “a superinfection" or "co-infection".
This means your liver is being attacked by more than one type of virus, which increases the risk for liver damage at a faster rate. Plus, the hepatitis B vaccine helps prevent hepatitis D, a huge bonus.
Why is there no vaccine for hepatitis C?
The hepatitis C virus mutates and changes so quickly in the body that it has been very difficult to develop an effective vaccine. Researchers are still working on it. Hopefully, one day a vaccine is made for hepatitis C. The best way to protect your body is to practice proactive steps against transmission and get the other vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B to help protect your liver.
There are five types of hepatitis: Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. There are no vaccines for hepatitis C and E. Being vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B helps protect you from 3 out of 5 types of hepatitis.
Why do I need an annual flu shot?
Having the flu makes you more susceptible to getting pneumonia and other pneumococcal diseases, some of which can be life-threatening.
Why do I need a pneumonia shot?
There are many pneumococcal diseases that can cause different damage and severity. For example, pneumonia infects the lungs, bacteremia affects the bloodstream, and meningitis targets the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Vaccines are the best way to prevent pneumococcal disease. Check with your physician and pharmacy for personal recommendations.
Why do I need the shingles vaccine?
Your risk for shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) increases as you get older. Even if you’ve had the chickenpox or shingles in the past, you can still get the shingles. If you have hepatitis C, you need to protect yourself from getting sick due to weakening your immune system.