Astronauts are often required to get immunizations (incorrectly called vaccines). Which ones are required?

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    $\begingroup$ Would you happen to have a source for the claim "Astronauts are often required to get immunizations"? I myself never heard of it. However, I do expect that a series of measures need to be taken by someone undertaking an expensive training to perform a task at a very precise time frame. But as with usual vaccination policies, these are based on the locations the person will visit and the disease season. $\endgroup$ – Mefitico Nov 26 '18 at 12:15
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    $\begingroup$ Apollo Program Summary Report: " Immunology.- All known immunizations were carefully reviewed by NASA medical personnel and by a special microbiology advisory committee. The immunizations listed in table 8-1 were those used for crewmembers and their families." $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Nov 26 '18 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ To clarify the question then: You seem to have the list in your hands for the Apollo program, and you did see that a committee advises the immunizations used. Are you looking for broad guidelines for picking immunizations or are you looking for the list used din a specific program? $\endgroup$ – Mefitico Nov 26 '18 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ I'm looking for the specific list, from any era (e.g. Apollo, Shuttle, ISS). I don't think it's proper for me to answer my own question. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Nov 26 '18 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ SO sites actually give you the option to "share your knowledge Q&A style" by answering your question even before it's posted to the wide audience. It's not inappropriate to answer your own question (if the question and answer will be well-received it's a different matter). That being said, you can (and I think you should) include the example you have in your question text and ask for further examples/explanations. $\endgroup$ – Mefitico Nov 26 '18 at 14:34

The full list of immunizations required upon selection is not provided to the public, however we employ something called the Flight Crew Health Stabilization Program to limit uphill transmission of infectious diseases to the ISS - this may be public, I’ll check. The HSP involves confirming not only the crew’s vaccination status, but also those supporting launch operations who will have direct contact with the crew. Those supporting launch who can not obtain required vaccinations are required to don personal protective equipment to reduce the risk to crew. This is all combined with a short period of crew quarantine prior to launch, so that any viral incubation has time to manifest, and crew to recover prior to visiting their colleagues on ISS.

Uphill transmission of viral illness is a significant concern, and ongoing research suggests some degree of immune suppression/dysfunction accompanies long-duration spaceflight; this means the efficacy of those immunizations once crew are on orbit is unknown, and the operational impact of even a common cold virus making its way to ISS could be significant.


The old version of the HSP circa 2010 is public and available here: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20130000048.pdf

The current version is not publicly available. The above version focuses solely on the seasonal flu vaccine requirements, and leaves vague the full list required for both crew and direct contacts during the pre-launch quarantine period.

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    $\begingroup$ I still remember the horrified look on the guard's faces when one of the STS-127 crewmembers broke quarantine to shake the training teams' hands when they were getting ready to fly out from Ellington for the launch. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Dec 4 '18 at 15:05

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