JA and the Flu Vaccine

Learn what a pediatric rheumatologist says about the safety and efficacy of a flu shot for children with juvenile arthritis. 

Question: "I’ve heard that getting a flu vaccine may trigger a JA flare? Is it still better to vaccinate my child?” 

Answer: As pediatric rheumatologists, we encourage all our rheumatology patients, including children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), to take the annual flu vaccine as soon as it is available.

The benefits from immunization far outweigh potential risks. This has been studied, including the research reported in the article, “Immunogenicity and safety of influenza vaccination in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis on biological therapy using the microneutralization assay,” that was published in the journal Pediatric Rheumatology in 2017.  The results demonstrated the safety and efficacy of the flu vaccine in children with JIA on various biologic therapies targeting cytokines like TNF, IL-1, and IL-6.

Randy Q. Cron, MD, PhD

Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine

Director of Pediatric Rheumatology, Children’s of Alabama/University of Alabama at Birmingham

Arthritis Foundation, Alabama Chapter, Endowed Chair



For more information about COVID and the Flu vaccine, view our expert Q&A video with pediatrician and infectious disease expert, David Cennimo, MD, Rutgers School of Medicine