An online Town Hall was held to discuss these recommendations with our membership. We have found this to be a great mechanism for getting information into our providers’ hands quickly and with confidence. It was reassuring to know we can recommend COVID-19 vaccination to all our patients with few restrictions and few concerns over medication use.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueApril 2021, March 2021
Also By This Author
Like all of our COVID-19 guidance, this is a living document, with constant monitoring of the literature and updates whenever significant new information emerges.
COVID-19 Vaccine Immunology
One amazing thing about rheumatology is how quickly our researchers respond to new challenges. Just as the Phase 3 clinical trial results were announced, researchers around the country began designing ambitious translational and clinical research projects to understand the immunology of COVID-19 vaccines in patients with rheumatic diseases. As these plans unfolded, it was clear that collaboration among the groups doing these studies would benefit all involved.
On Dec. 18, 2020, just one week after the Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer vaccine, the ACR hosted a COVID-19 Vaccine Consortium online. I was thrilled to see almost 100 people from the U.S., Europe, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand attend this virtual work in progress.
Viewers of the webinar heard from several speakers whose projects were recently described in a special edition of The Rheumatologist, and I suggest everyone look at the exciting work being proposed. These studies will help us understand how patients with autoimmune and rheumatic diseases respond to the vaccines at a very detailed level, including B cell biology and serological protection from infection. We will learn if our patients have adverse effects from the vaccine. The effects of different medications used to treat rheumatology patients on vaccine efficacy will be determined. Some studies will create biorepositories so other investigators can perform their own assays on vaccinated patient specimens.
In addition to serving as a focal point for investigators to share ideas, data and specimens, the ACR can help researchers understand the effect of COVID-19 infection or vaccination in patients with rheumatic diseases. The Rheumatology Research Foundation funded several special COVID-19 studies under an accelerated mechanism last year. Foundation President S. Louis Bridges Jr., MD, PhD, remarked, “As more funds for COVID-related research become available at the Foundation, we hope to fund studies focused on long-term safety and effectiveness of various COVID-19 vaccines in patients with rheumatic diseases, as well as COVID’s long-term consequences and impact on healthcare delivery to our patients.”