To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the British Society of Gastroenterology consensus guidelines on the management of inflammatory bowel disease in adults, published in 2019, if he will take steps to ensure that there is consistent access to the NHS influenza vaccine for people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Those with disease and ulcerative colitis may be more at risk of infections like flu if being treated with either immunosuppressant medicines – such as azathioprine, methotrexate and mercaptopurine; or biological medicines – such as adalimumab and infliximab. It is therefore recommended that they have the influenza vaccine every year.
The Green Book sets out clinical risk groups who should receive the influenza immunisation, including those who are immunosuppressed. However, the list is not exhaustive, and the Green Book states that medical practitioners should apply clinical judgment to take into account the risk of influenza exacerbating any underlying disease that a patient may have, as well as the risk of serious illness from influenza itself.