The flu vaccine is safe for myeloma patients and the IMF recommends that all myeloma patients receive a flu shot annually.
The National Institutes of Health's Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that stem cell transplant patients receive a flu shot six months post-transplant.
The "high-dose flu vaccine" is approved for use only in people 65 years of age and older. It was developed with the knowledge that human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from influenza.
The high-dose vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen contained in the regular flu shot, to create a stronger immune response in this susceptible population. However, the potential for side effects from this higher-dose shot is greater than with the lower-dose shot.
If patients 65 or older have had the flu shot before with no complications, it is probably safe for them to get the high-dose shot. Patients 65 and older who have never before had a flu shot, however, should get the regular-dose vaccine.
As always, we recommend you discuss your individual situation with your doctor.