How Does the Flu Vaccine Help Me if I Have Hepatitis C?
Last updated: July 2023
Some research shows that hepatitis C patients and those undergoing treatment may be more susceptible to flu. Each year during flu season, it is recommended for hep C patients to get the annual flu vaccine.1,2
Does the flu vaccine impact hep C infection?
The flu vaccine itself does not affect hepatitis C, but it does protect you from most flu viruses. When someone has hepatitis C, they are already fighting the hepatitis C virus, so protecting you from additional infection is best when your immune system is already hard at work.1,2
When I was dealing with hepatitis C, my hepatologist highly recommended I receive the annual flu shot, as well as everyone who lived in the house with me. I was told dealing with the flu was harder on someone with hepatitis C and may take longer to get over.
For someone with hepatitis C and other liver disease conditions, the flu can also lead to complications, especially if you have other medical conditions and/or are older. Over 45 million Americans each year are affected by the flu each year and many are hospitalized due to complications.1,2
What other vaccines help protect hep C patients?
People with hepatitis C can develop what are known as coinfections. Patients can contract more than one genotype (virus strain of hepatitis C) at the same time, or contract hepatitis A or B along with hepatitis C or other diseases. Liver specialists recommend hepatitis C patients receive their annual flu vaccine, but also make sure they receive the following vaccines for added protection.1,2
It is important to note there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but your doctor may recommend being vaccinated for:1,2
- Hepatitis A (Hep A)
- Hepatitis B (Hep B)
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
- Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY)
- Meningococcal B (MenB)
- Pneumococcal (Pneumovax 23, PPSV23; Prevnar 13, PCV13)
- Tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis) (Tdap, Td)
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
- Zoster (shingles), to be taken by those 50 years old and older
Talk to your liver specialist about what vaccines you need to help protect you. Taking the flu vaccine and other protective vaccines is proactive, especially when you have hepatitis C or other medical conditions. Be safe. Get vaccinated.