Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe for Chronic Disease Patients?

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe for Chronic Disease Patients?

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe for Chronic Disease Patients?

On December 11, 2020 and December 18, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer – BioNTech COVID-19 and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, respectively.

With the first vaccinations already taking place across the country, it’s no surprise that chronic autoimmune disease patients are concerned about their eligibility and whether the vaccine is safe to use given their condition.

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe for Chronic Disease Patients?

The COVID-19 vaccine is considered safe for most healthy individuals. However, when it comes to developing new vaccines, patients living with chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and psoriasis always have additional concerns.

The two main concerns center around:

  • Will the vaccine cause an unsafe immune system response?
  • Could their immunosuppressant medications render the vaccine less effective?

At this time, the medical community doesn’t have clear answers to these concerns because Phase 3 clinical trials did not include chronic disease patients.

Vaccine clinical trials typically center around healthy people without medical conditions or medications that could affect the results.

It’s important to note that even though chronic disease patients were not part of the initial clinical trials, it doesn’t mean they cannot receive the vaccine.

The vaccine’s effects on chronic disease patients will be evaluated in phase 4 trials when the vaccine has been FDA approved.

Should Chronic Disease Patients Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19?

For most patients, the answer is likely “yes.”

Currently, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine would be less safe for people who have a chronic disease.

In a recent article published in Medscape Medical News, Maria Abreu, MD, director of the Crohn’s and Colitis Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said:

“The [vaccines] leading the pack do not have any replicating virus and thus can be used in immunocompromised people.”

Additionally, Dr. Abreu noted that, “It’s much safer to get a vaccine than it is to take your chances of getting COVID-19.”

Ultimately, chronic disease patients should consult with their doctor to decide whether getting the vaccine is the right choice.

When Will COVID-19 Vaccines Become Available for Chronic Disease Patients

The distribution of the vaccine has already started. Each state is responsible for developing a distribution plan. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a guide for prioritizing vaccine distribution.

Phase 1

Phase 1 includes three sub-groups.

Phase 1a (also known as the Jumpstart phase):

  • Health care personell
  • Residents in Long Term Care Facilities (LTCF)

 

Phase 1b

  • Frontline essential workers
  • Persons aged 75+ years

 

Phase 1c

  • Persons aged 65-74 years
  • Persons aged 16-64 years with high risk medical conditions
  • Essential workers not commended for vaccination in Phase 1b

 

Phase 2

  • All persons aged 16+ years not previously recommended for vaccination

 

According to the above guidelines, some patients could be eligible to receive the vaccine sooner. Altus Biologics urges chronic disease patients to speak to their doctors about the benefits and possible drawbacks of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

For many patients, the winter months can increase their feelings of isolation, and the harsh weather conditions can trigger disease symptoms making it hard to stay positive.

Physical activity is an effective way to stay connected and help improve mental and emotional health. For this reason, Altus Biologics encourages patients to work alongside their physicians to find safe ways to remain as active as possible during these cold months.

Disclaimer

The information provided on this blog regarding symptoms and possible treatment of illnesses is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Altus Biologics does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information published in its blog and will not be held responsible for the content of any blog publication.

You should always consult your primary care physician for specific medical advice.

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