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Autoimmun Rev. 2014 Feb;13(2):75-84. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2013.07.007. Epub 2013 Sep 14.

Influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: current views upon safety and immunogenicity.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Clinical Immunology Unit, University of Genova, Genova, Italy. Electronic address:


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic immune-mediated inflammatory multisystem disease. The onset of viral and bacterial infections may favor the exacerbation of the disease, amplify autoimmune processes and contribute to mortality and morbidity. The prevention of influenza and Streptococcus pneumoniae infections with vaccination should receive particular attention in SLE patients considering their elevated incidence, their high attack rate in epidemic periods, their potentially severe complications as well as the immunocompromised state of the host. The use of non-adjuvanted vaccine preparations should be preferred in order to avoid the onset of the "Autoimmune (auto-inflammatory) Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants" or "ASIA". In this review, we report that influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations in SLE patients are: 1) recommended to reduce the risk of development of these infections; 2) strongly suggested in elderly subjects and in those receiving high dose immunosuppressive treatments; 3) efficacious, even if specific immune responses may be lower than in the general population, as generally the humoral response fulfills the criteria for vaccine immunogenicity; and 4) safe in inactive disease although may favor a transient increase in autoantibody levels and rarely disease flares.


Influenza vaccine; Pneumococcal vaccine; Systemic lupus erythematosus

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