COVID-19 and Vaccine Information

Should people with rheumatic diseases or whom take immunosuppressives get the COVID Vaccine? 

Yes, the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized three vaccines for prevention of COVID-19: Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s. Any of the 3 currently available vaccines would be fine.  There is no ‘best’ vaccine. None of them are considered “live” and will not cause infection.  Other than the generally expected mild/moderate side effects reported from a vaccine, there are no other expected problems from the vaccine when given to rheumatology patients.  In Michigan, between 1/1/2021 and 6/1/2021, 50,000 people were hospitalized with COVID. Less than 1% had been vaccinated. We believe the benefit of the vaccine to prevent severe disease/death, far outweighs any risk.  Please refer to the ACR guide for holding or timing of meds if applicable – these are summarized in the table below.

Click to read the most recent CDC updates.

Click to read the CDC Update for High Risk Groups which includes persons including RA, lupus, scleroderma, vasculitis and others treated with immunosuppressives.

We are receiving questions from our patients whether it is useful to test if they developed protective antibodies after taking a COVID-19 vaccine. None of the currently authorized tests have been specifically authorized to assess individuals who have received the vaccine. There is no established protocol or payment mechanism for standard SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing at this time, which means it is possible ‘non-indicated’ testing of this type may not be covered by insurance. Click to read the CDC Guidelines on COVID-19 Antibody Testing.

The American College of Rheumatology published guidance on whether there is a need to adjust the timing of specific anti-rheumatic drugs when one receives the COVID-19 vaccine. See the summary below.

Where to Get the Vaccine

In Michigan all adults are eligible to receive the vaccine. The Department of Health and Human Services has developed a distribution plan that utilizes all the typical outlets used to give the annual flu vaccine. Multiple private and public outlets are giving the vaccine now.

Click the green hyperlinks below to see information about scheduling a vaccine appointment (or to receive notification when it available for you).

CVSD & WRite Aid