Can thymectomized patients receive vaccinations, specifically Covid19?

Posted by pdietrich @pdietrich, Jan 12 9:34am

Underwent thymectomy forty+ years ago for treatment of Myasthenia Gravis. At the time I was advised never to have vaccinations. I’ve been researching literature and see several that conclude some vaccinations are tolerable, but still many must be avoided due to Immunosenescence, e.g. rotavirus and varicella-zoster virus. Does anyone know if long term thymectomized patients can safely receive any of the Covid19 vaccinations?

@pdietrich Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect, a place to give and get support. You have been told to never use vaccines due to the treatment you received for Myasthenia Gravis 40 plus years ago.

You will notice that I added this discussion to the COVID-19 group. I did this so that members from both groups could benefit from this conversation by sharing information and support. Members like @bbjones @ca426 @keggebraaten @ess77 have similar questions about their existing condition/treatment and the COVID-19 vaccine.

Below I have posted a direct link to the COVID-19 group.
– COVID-19 https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/covid-19/

COVID-19 is new, as is the vaccine. It's a difficult decision to weigh the risks of getting the vaccine versus the risks of potentially contracting the virus.

Below I have linked CDC information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and underlying conditions
– How CDC Is Making COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations-process.html
-Vaccination Considerations for Persons with Underlying Medical Conditions https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/underlying-conditions.html

I'm hoping other members will jump in with guidance they received regarding their particular condition and receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Here at Mayo there are designated COVID-19 providers that other providers consult with. I'm wondering if you consulted with a provider regarding the vaccine?

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Thank you, @erikas for your prompt reply. Yes, I have tried. My primary care physician said simply he didn't know, didn't know whom I should consult, and I was on my own. I have called local immunologists, allergists, and rheumatologists, all saying it wasn't their bailiwick. A call to Duke University Health System was a catch-22 (the support level personnel for their Duke Patient Support/Referral System was not knowledgeable enough to advise which specialty I needed to consult, and I was not allowed just to call one without a referral from my primary care physician, who had told me to find out which specialty first). I called the Infectious Disease Section Head at East Carolina University who was very gracious and informative about the new covid19 vaccines (saying he knew I should stay away from AstraZeneca at least as it would probably be lethal) and that mRNA vaccines were safer, but he really had no knowledge about Myasthenia Gravis or thymectomized patients. A very caring nurse at one of the endocrinologists' offices I called, suggested "try the Mayo Clinic. They know everything!" Here I am.
(I should add my original neurologist, with whom I stayed in contact for years, has long been deceased.)

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@pdietrich , you’ve asked a very interesting question! I found this on a thymectomy association website. Their phone number is at the bottom.
https://www.myaware.org/thymectomy-information-sheet
Can you give them a call and then let us know?

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@pdietrich

Thank you, @erikas for your prompt reply. Yes, I have tried. My primary care physician said simply he didn't know, didn't know whom I should consult, and I was on my own. I have called local immunologists, allergists, and rheumatologists, all saying it wasn't their bailiwick. A call to Duke University Health System was a catch-22 (the support level personnel for their Duke Patient Support/Referral System was not knowledgeable enough to advise which specialty I needed to consult, and I was not allowed just to call one without a referral from my primary care physician, who had told me to find out which specialty first). I called the Infectious Disease Section Head at East Carolina University who was very gracious and informative about the new covid19 vaccines (saying he knew I should stay away from AstraZeneca at least as it would probably be lethal) and that mRNA vaccines were safer, but he really had no knowledge about Myasthenia Gravis or thymectomized patients. A very caring nurse at one of the endocrinologists' offices I called, suggested "try the Mayo Clinic. They know everything!" Here I am.
(I should add my original neurologist, with whom I stayed in contact for years, has long been deceased.)

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@pdietrich Below I have linked the Mayo Clinic appointment page. You should be able to navigate from there a way to set up an appointment with qualified medical staff that hopefully will be able to answer your question.
http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63

Mayo Clinic Connect is an online forum but moderators, mentors, and members do not have qualifications to answer medical questions.

May I ask if you have already called Mayo Clinic directly?

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@becsbuddy

@pdietrich , you’ve asked a very interesting question! I found this on a thymectomy association website. Their phone number is at the bottom.
https://www.myaware.org/thymectomy-information-sheet
Can you give them a call and then let us know?

Jump to this post

Thank you, @becsbuddy , for your input. Yes, I am already an "email" member of MyAware in Great Britain. Unfortunately, they are unable to assist anyone outside the UK. I wish we had such an organization here in the US.

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@erikas

@pdietrich Below I have linked the Mayo Clinic appointment page. You should be able to navigate from there a way to set up an appointment with qualified medical staff that hopefully will be able to answer your question.
http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63

Mayo Clinic Connect is an online forum but moderators, mentors, and members do not have qualifications to answer medical questions.

May I ask if you have already called Mayo Clinic directly?

Jump to this post

Hello again, @erikas . No, I have not successfully called the Mayo Clinic directly. Allow me to restructure my enquiry to this forum: does anyone know which specialty I could consult that would know the answer to the question of whether or not any of the covid19 vaccinations would be recommended for thymectomized patients. (It seems I cannot be connected successfully, either at Mayo Clinic or Duke University, until I know what specialty I am asking for.)

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@pdietrich, departments at Mayo that treat myasthenia gravis include Neurology, Ophthalmology and Thoracic Surgery. When you call Mayo Clinic, I might suggest that you direct your query to the Thoracic Surgery department https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/thoracic-surgery/home/orc-20421039 They may be able to answer this question through a virtual appointment http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63

Or you may also consider asking your question to the surgeon who originally performed the thymectomy. Does the practice still exist?

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