The flu vaccine is routinely given to people with certain medical conditions, including PSC because it is a chronic liver disease. You can have your NHS flu vaccine at your GP surgery or a local chemist offering the service. If you have your flu vaccine at a chemist, you don't have to inform your GP – it is up to the pharmacist to do that.
The pneumococcal vaccine protects against serious and potentially fatal pneumococcal infections. It's also known as the 'pneumo jab' or pneumonia vaccine. It can be given at anytime throughout the year as long as there are no contraindications such as fever.
Hepatitis A vaccine
Hepatitis A vaccine should be considered for patients with chronic liver disease including PSC. The hepatitis A vaccine is usually given as part of a travel vaccination programme to certain parts of the world, so some of you may already be covered or have your own natural immunity.
Hepatitis B vaccine
Hepatitis B vaccine should be considered for patients with chronic liver disease including PSC to protect against the hepatitis B virus and its complications.
What do our experts say?
We asked Professor David Adams (PSC expert and PSC Support Trustee) for his viewpoint on vaccinations, and his thoughts below also reflect those of Dr Roger Chapman (PSC expert and PSC Support Trustee): 'Although patients with PSC are not at increased risk of contracting viral hepatitis it can have devastating effects when contracted on the background of ongoing liver disease so I would advise patients to be vaccinated for hepatitis B and hepatitis A.' (Jan 2012)
Some vaccinations, for example BCG and yellow fever are ‘live’ vaccines, meaning they are prepared from an active microorganism or virus. These should be avoided in people who are immunocompromised and therefore prone to infection due to their condition or treatment. Pneumococcal, hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines are NOT live vaccines.