Blog PostsJun 2, 2023

Are Vaccines Safe for People with Spina Bifida?

Vaccines have been around since the 18th century, and they have always been critical in keeping society safe and protected from harmful diseases. While every vaccine has gone through rigorous testing, you may still want to know: are they safe for people with Spina Bifida?

The short answer is yes, and it’s important to make the decision with the help of your healthcare provider.

Let’s dive into the most important vaccines for the Spina Bifida community, why it’s okay to get them, and how they protect our bodies.

Importance of vaccines

Vaccines have become an integral part of our society. They allow our bodies to create protective antibodies that help fight off infections that could become life-threatening. The more people who are vaccinated, the less likely it is that a vaccine-preventable disease will spread throughout the population.

For people with Spina Bifida, it is just as important to get vaccinated. “There is nothing about Spina Bifida that is a contraindication to getting a vaccine,” says Erin McNamara, a pediatric urologist from Boston Children’s Hospital.

While people with Spina Bifida do have health concerns, this is not a reason to avoid getting vaccinated. Getting vaccinated will reduce the risks of getting a disease by working with your body’s natural defenses to build protection, says the World Health Organization.

Vaccines to consider

Vaccines are important to everybody.

Babies receive many vaccines, including Hepatitis A & B, Diphtheria, and Polio to prevent life-threatening infections and diseases, some of which have been successfully eradicated from the United States.

As we age, we need other vaccines for things like Influenza, HPV, Shingles, and COVID-19. These are just as important in preventing sickness and death in everybody.

On whether or not it’s safe for a healthcare provider to offer a vaccine to patients with Spina Bifida, Caren Mangarelli who is a physician from Lurie Children’s Hospital says, “What you should be providing or offering to patients with Spina Bifida is exactly the same as you should be offering to other pediatric patients.”

Latex allergy

Many people with Spina Bifida have a latex allergy or are sensitive to the natural rubber. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid latex when getting vaccines.

Simply make sure you tell the person administering the vaccine that you have a latex allergy or sensitivity. This will help to ensure that they use vaccines with latex-free packaging and that they wear latex-free gloves.

Side effects of vaccines

After receiving a vaccine, it is common to experience some fatigue, a mild fever, and soreness, pain, or redness at the injection site. This means that the vaccine is doing its job and protecting your body. The side effects will go away on their own within a few hours or days, depending on the vaccine. And while these side effects may be uncomfortable, they certainly outweigh the pain and symptoms associated with COVID-19, the flu, and many other potentially preventable illnesses, according to the CDC.

Talk with your healthcare provider

If you have Spina Bifida and are uncertain about getting a vaccine, then we encourage you to talk with your healthcare provider. They know you and your health the best, so they will know what is right for you and your body.

Click here to find vaccines near you.