Advanced Rheumatlogy

COVID-19 Vaccine Statement

We are recommending our patients get the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine unless you have had problems with vaccines in the past.

Rituxan patients can get the COVID-19 vaccine, but they should call us to coordinate the timing of the vaccine and their next Rituxan treatment.

If you do receive the COVID-19 vaccine, we are recommending you do not stop your medications prescribed by our office.  

Since the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were authorized many questions have surfaced about whether people who take immunosuppressant medications can or should receive a vaccine. Concerns have largely stemmed from the fact that patients who take these immunosuppressing medications were not included in the clinical trials that led to vaccine authorizations. This means there is not yet a lot of data on how effective they are in people whose immune systems function differently, because of medication or underlying health issues like autoimmune conditions.  However, researchers are starting to collect and analyze data on whether the vaccines have different efficacy or side effects in these patient populations.  For example, preliminary data shows about an 8% increase in flares for musculoskeletal conditions after receving the vaccine. 

Many major medical organizations are recommending the vaccine to people on immunosuppressants. The general consensus of Rheumatologists, based on what we know about the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, is the COVID-19 vaccines should be safe for people on immunosuppressant therapy, but it may be less effective than advertised.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us or message us in the patient portal.  

 

COVID-19 Vaccination Phases (varies by county)

The defined populations for different vaccination phases are:

  • Phase 1A: healthcare workers, emergency medical service workers, long-term care, assisted living/skilled nursing facility staff and residents.  
  • Phase 1B: frontline essential workers in critical infrastructure and individuals that are 65 years and older. 
  • Phase 1C: individuals aged 16-74 at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness, and some essential workers that were not included in prior phases.
  • Phase 2: all individuals 16* and older who did not otherwise fit into earlier groups (*Moderna vaccine is ONLY available to those 18 and older).